Judge rules against Prop 22 law that ensures California drivers remain independent contractors

23 Aug 2021

A California judge ruled Friday that Proposition 22 violates the state’s Constitution, The New York Times and other media reported. California voters approved the law in the election last November; it allows companies like Uber Technologies Inc., Lyft Inc. and others to continue to classify their drivers as independent contractors while providing workers with certain benefits. Online labor service companies and others had spent some $ 200 million to help get Proposal 22 approved by voters. Work had also started on a similar initiative in Massachusetts.

The group representing companies supporting Proposition 22 said on Friday that it planned to appeal the decision and that Proposition 22 would remain in effect during the appeal process.

“We believe the judge erred in ignoring a century of case law requiring the courts to protect voters’ right of initiative,” said Geoff Vetter, spokesperson for the Protect App-Based Drivers & Services Coalition.

“This outrageous move is an affront to the overwhelming majority of Californian voters who adopted Proposition 22,” Vetter continued. “We will file an immediate appeal and are convinced that the Court of Appeal will uphold proposition 22. It is important to note that this decision of the Superior Court is not binding and will be immediately stayed on our appeal. All provisions of Proposition 22 will remain in effect until the appeal process is completed.

The International Union of Service Employees and some drivers filed a complaint challenging the law and welcomed the decision.

“Today’s decision by Judge Roesch overturning Proposition 22 could not be clearer: the entertainment industry-funded voting initiative was unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable,” said Bob Schoonover, Chairman of the Council of California State SEIU, in a statement.

“Companies like Uber and Lyft have spent $ 225 million in an effort to take away rights from workers in a way that violates the California Constitution,” Schoonover said. “They tried to increase their profits by undermining democracy and the state constitution. For two years, drivers have been saying that democracy cannot be bought. And today’s decision shows they were right.

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