Hundreds of rideshare and on-demand delivery drivers are scheduled to rally at the State Capitol at 12:30 p.m. today to urge the Legislature to create a policy that will protect their ability to work as independent contractors.
Coming on the heels of a Los Angeles Times editorial calling for a fix to the Dynamex decision that will protect workers in the “gig economy,” workers will demand the Legislature not infringe on their employment opportunities and scheduling flexibility.
The Los Angeles Times editorial headline on Dynamex and the gig economy underscores the magnitude of lawmakers’ decisions on this issue in the coming weeks — “California legislators could save gig workers – or ruin the part-time economy.”
Expanding Worker Classifications
One of the major unresolved elements of Assembly Bill 5, legislation on Dynamex, is how California should classify gig economy workers. These workers typically work part-time, and, if they are required to become employees, will lose the flexible work model which likely prompted them to become rideshare or on-demand delivery drivers in the first place.
In its editorial, the Los Angeles Times suggests that a possible solution for gig workers in the wake of Dynamex might be to expand the definition of who is an employee. The editorial board writes, “…a better approach would be to give more wage and labor protections to independent contractors…That would offer more help to part-time workers than reclassifying them as employees and robbing them of the flexibility and opportunities that attracted them to the work in the first place.”
California Chamber of Commerce President Allan Zaremberg also recently weighed in on the importance of protecting the independent status of gig economy workers in the Dynamex debate.
In a commentary he authored for CALmatters, Zaremberg points out that work models have changed dramatically, but employment laws remain the same. Zaremberg called on the Legislature to establish new laws and protections to fit the state’s dynamic economy.
“The Legislature must get off the sidelines and set the ground rules for the networked, innovative, on-demand economy, not by rolling back the clock as if the gig economy doesn’t exist, but by recognizing and supporting nontraditional workers,” Zaremberg writes.
Urge Lawmakers to Protect Flexibility
The I’m Independent Coalition will be running a full-page advertisement in The Sacramento Bee urging legislators to protect the jobs of rideshare drivers. The ad includes several testimonials from drivers that underscore why the flexible nature of the work is so necessary for them and California’s economy.
In the ad, the value of the independent work model to drivers is made clear by Moroni from Los Angeles, who recently left a 9-to-5 job to care for his ill parent and went to work for Uber full-time to accommodate his parent’s needs and said: “My previous 9-to-5 job interfered with my ill parent’s treatment and care.”
CalChamber joins the I’m Independent Coalition in urging lawmakers to protect flexibility for workers in today’s economy.
A pre-smartphone set of facts that provided the basis for a court decision should not be allowed to dictate employment laws for the modern economy. California is the incubator for global technology and should be the leader in laws that drive innovation, rather than stifle independence.