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The debate over app-based drivers and other ‘gig’ workers | Political

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Highland voters will join the rest of the state in casting ballots on a dozen California propositions, eight placed on the ballot by petitions and four by the state Legislature.

Getting the most attention — and campaign contributions — is Proposition 22, which would retain the traditional treatment of “gig” workers or independent contractors.

The App-Based Drivers as Contractors and Labor Policies Initiative would exempt Lift and Uber drivers along with delivery companies from Assembly Bill 5.

AB 5 was introduced in response to a California Supreme Court ruling in April 2018 that upheld a lower-court ruling that said most workers should be entitled to labor protections, such as minimum wage laws, sick leave and unemployment and workers’ compensation.

The California Legislature enacted AB 5 on a party-line vote rebuffing Republican opposition in December 2019. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed it into law, and it took effect on Jan. 1.

Uber, Lyft and DoorDash have pledged to spend $30 million in support of Proposition 22.

In the arguments in favor, proponents say app-based drivers prefer to work as independent contractors by a 4-1 margin.

“These drivers have other jobs, family obligations or health issues and need flexibility to continue this work and supplemental income to support their families,” says the argument written by Lyft driver Jerome George.

More than 80 percent of drivers work less than 20 hours a week, have other jobs or responsibilities and can’t work set shifts as employees, including:

• Parents who work while kids are in school.

• Family members who work odd hours so they can care for aging parents or other loved ones.

• Working families, retirees and students who need supplemental income.

In November 2019, the California Trucking Association, representing about 70,000 truck drivers in the state, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, challenging both the California Supreme Court Dynamex ruling and AB 5.

In the argument against the proposition, opponents point out that Proposition 22 applies only to app-based driver, delivery companies and transportation companies.

AB 5 also affects gig musicians (where the term originated) and newspaper freelancers, including those who contribute to the Redlands Community News and Highland Community News.

The Recording Academy has expressed concerns. The National Press Photographers Association and the American Society of Journalists and Authors sued the state of California, alleging that AB 5 violates the First and Fourteenth amendments.

Petition-based initiatives

Proposition 14: Stem cell research

Authorizes $5.5 billion state bonds for stem cell and other medical research, including training, research facility construction and administrative costs. Dedicates $1.5 billion to brain-related diseases. Appropriates general fund money for repayment. Expands related programs. Will increase state costs to repay bonds estimated at about $260 million per year over the next roughly 30 years.

Proponents: YESon14@CAforCures.com or YESon14.com

Opponents: writejohnseiler@gmail.com

Preposition 15: Funding schools and local government

Increased funding for public schools and local government.

Taxes such properties based on current market value instead of purchase price. Would increase property taxes on commercial properties worth more than $3 million to provide $6.5 billion to $11.5 billion in new funding to local governments and schools.

Proponents: info@schoolsandcommunitiesfirst.org or yes15.org

Opponents: info@NOonProp15.org or www.NOonProp15.org

Proposition 20: Parole changes and felony upgrade for certain crimes

Limits access to parole program established for non-violent offenders who have completed the full term of their primary offense by eliminating eligibility for certain offenses. Authorizes felony sentences for certain crimes now treated as misdemeanors.

Proponents: YesOn20.org

Opponents: NoOnProp20@gmail.com or NoProp20.vote

Proposition 21: Rent control

Allows local governments to establish rent control on residential properties over 15 years old. Local limits on rate increases may differ from statewide limit.

Proponents: contact@YesOn21CA.org or YesOn21CA.org

Opponents: info@noonprop21.vote or https://noonprop21.vote/

Proposition 22: Gig economy and independent contractors

Classifies app-based drivers as “independent contractors,” instead of “employees,” and provides independent-contractor drivers other compensation, unless certain criteria are met.

Proponents: info@protectdriversandservices.com

VoteYesProp22.com

Opponents: info@nooncaprop22.com or Nooncaprop22.com

Proposition 23: Kidney dialysis

Requires physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant on site during dialysis treatment. Prohibits clinics from reducing services without state approval. Prohibits clinics from refusing to treat patients based on payment source.

Proponents: YesOnProp23.com

Opponents: NoProposition23.com

Proposition 24: Consumer privacy

Permits consumers to prevent businesses from sharing personal information, correct inaccurate personal information and limit businesses’ use of “sensitive personal information,” including precise geolocation, race, ethnicity, and health information. Establishes California Privacy Protection Agency.

Proponents: info@caprivacy.org or caprivacy.org

Opponents: CaliforniansForRealPrivacy.org or mail@RealPrivacyNoOn24.org

Proposition 25: Eliminate the bail system

Replaces money bail with system based on public safety and flight risk. Fiscal Impact: Increased costs possibly in mid hundreds of millions of dollars annually for a new process for release from jail prior to trial. Decreased county jail costs, possibly in high tens of millions of dollars annually.

Proponents: info@yesoncaprop25.com or yesoncaprop25.com

Opponents: info@stopprop25.com or StopProp25.com

Propositions placed on the ballot by the California Legislature

Proposition 16: Diversity

Allows diversity as a factor in public employment, education and contracting decisions.

Permits government decision-making policies to consider race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in order to address diversity by repealing constitutional provision prohibiting such policies.

Proponents: info@voteyesonprop16.org or VoteYesOnProp16.org

Opponents: info@californiansforequalrights.org or https://californiansforequalrights.org/

Proposition 17: Right to vote after a completing a prison term

Restores voting rights upon completion of prison term to those who have been disqualified from voting while serving a prison term. Fiscal impact annual county costs expected to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars statewide, for voter registration and ballot materials.

Proponents: YesonProp17@gmail.com or Yeson17.vote

Opponents: ruthweiss@eip-ca.com or eip-ca.com

Proposition 18: Allowing 17-year-olds to vote

Allows 17-year-old to vote in primary and secondary elections if they turn 18 before the next general election.

Proponents: info@caprop18.com or CAprop18.com

Opponents: info@eip-ca.com or eip-ca.com

Proposition 19: Changing property tax rules

Allows homeowners who are over 55, disabled, or wildfire/disaster victims to transfer primary residence’s tax base to replacement residence. Changes taxation of family-property transfers. Establishes fire protection services fund.

Proponents: info@Yeson19.vote or Yeson19.vote.

Opponents: info@hjta.org or HJTA.org



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Workers

Target is giving frontline workers $70 million in bonuses — but their growing gig workforce say they just got hit with a major pay cut

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  • Target just gave 350,000 frontline workers $70 million in bonuses.
  • The company announced the bonus Monday, the same day some of its Shipt gig workforce protested outside Target headquarters in Minneapolis calling for fairer pay.
  • Willy Solis, a lead organizer with the nonprofit Gig Workers Collective, said gig Shoppers were a part of why Target was able to enjoy 273% annual growth in same-day service sales — including curbside pick up, drive up, and Shipt.
  • If you are a Shipt Shopper and would like to share your story, email aakhtar@businessinsider.com.

Target announced Monday that it would offer more than 350,000 frontline employees a $200 bonus each, or $70 million in total.

Target previously gave all hourly full-time and part-time store and distribution center workers $200 bonuses in July. Eligible employees include hourly members in stores and distribution centers, seasonal hires, and hourly team members who “support Target’s guest and team member contact centers.”

Meanwhile, some gig workers for Target-owned delivery service Shipt held a demonstration Monday outside of the company’s headquarters in Minneapolis protesting a new pay model.
Pay for Shipt workers, called Shoppers, is now determined using an algorithm rather than a flat rate, the company confirmed to Business Insider. Shipt classifies Shoppers as independent contractors who are not eligible for employee benefits, including minimum wage or healthcare.

Read more: Leaked Target memo reveals how the retailer is trying to obliterate germs in its stores by wiping down everything from ATMs and handcuffs to Bullseye, the company’s mascot

Some Shoppers have said the algorithmic pay model has lead to lower wages. Molly Snyder, the chief communications officer for Shipt, said Shoppers make $21 per shop including base pay, promo pay, and tips, which did not change on average during the new pay model, but some workers may have seen a decline in pay. Snyder also said there were more Shoppers for Shipt “than ever before” last weekend.

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One study, conducted by Coworker.org and an MIT PhD student, found the new pay model resulted in lower pay for 41% of Shoppers, and the number of people earning less is growing.

Willy Solis, a Shipt Shopper and a lead organizer with the grassroots organization Gig Workers Collective, said it felt insulting that Target give bonuses at the same time Shipt Shoppers are calling for fairer pay. Solis said Shoppers were a part of why Target was able to enjoy 273% annual growth in same-day service sales — including curbside pick up, drive up, and Shipt.
“We’re grateful and happy for Target employees to be recognized and for receiving that extra pay, but at the end of the day, we as Shipt shoppers have contributed significantly to make Target a very profitable company,” said Willy Solis, a Shipt Shopper and a lead organizer with the grassroots organization Gig Workers Collective.

Read more: Target just blew the doors off its first quarter earnings. Target CEO Brian Cornell says it was due to these two key factors.

Target bought Shipt in 2017 for $550 million to compete with Amazon and Walmart on same-day delivery. Target is currently valued at $82.5 billion.

If you are a Shipt Shopper and would like to share your story, email aakhtar@businessinsider.com.

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More Than One-Third Of Claims For Gig Workers, Self-Employed Unpaid – CBS Chicago

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TOM PURCELL: The fate of gig workers could turn on ballot question | Opinion

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Become an employee with full paid benefits, or remain a mostly independent gig worker? That debate’s raging in California as November’s general election approaches, and its outcome is likely to affect the entire country.

According to The Washington Post, “Uber, DoorDash and other gig economy companies are bombarding TV airwaves, social media and even their own apps with ads and marketing materials promoting a ballot initiative [Proposition 22] that they say would improve drivers’ financial situation and working conditions but that would also deny them the right to be classified as employees in California.”

Proposition 22 would give gig workers limited benefits and wage and worker protections, but establish them as an independent class of workers – and undo a 2019 California law, Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), that “would guarantee drivers access to the minimum wage, employer-provided health care and bargaining rights.”

I’ve long been self-employed, with the exception of some recent cybersecurity consulting contracts in which I was paid as a full-time employee with benefits, but that’s been my choice.

Being fully self-employed is not for the faint of heart. Besides cybersecurity consulting and writing a newspaper column, I have an apartment-rental business. I recently earned a real estate license and am selling properties, too.

I manage my own invoicing and taxes. I know to the penny – once my CPA explains it to me and I drop whatever mug of coffee I’m holding – how high my income taxes are. Few employees are aware of how much they pay in taxes or what their benefits cost their employers – which would be helpful to know before voting for new government policies that will increase both.

I manage my own health care insurance, which has gotten plenty expensive in recent years for individuals who don’t qualify for subsidies, in part because of government attempts to expand health insurance to everyone.

But, again, I choose to be self-employed. I like the freedom it provides. But it also makes me keenly aware of the unintended consequences of government regulations and policies.

California’s 2019 AB5 law would require Uber, for instance, to hire drivers as full-time employees with health insurance, paid sick leave and other benefits. Benefits are wonderful, but come at a price.

Uber claims that “if the company were forced to make all drivers across the country employees, for example, it could only support 260,000 full-time roles,” reports The Post. “That compares to 1.2 million active drivers the company was hosting on its app before the coronavirus pandemic.”

Uber also says fares would increase and drivers would be less available and timely – which means you might have to wait a while for your ride home to arrive after a night of enjoying the pub.

What it comes down to is that some politicians believe individuals shouldn’t have the freedom to exchange their skills and services for money from organizations, because organizations take advantage of those individuals. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris support AB5, not the watered-down Proposition 22.

Others think that in a free society, individuals should be able to offer their professional talents to anyone willing to pay for them, and government shouldn’t restrict the terms they negotiate. President Trump’s campaign supports that approach and is critical of AB5 (but has not, to my knowledge, supported Proposition 22).

That’s something else to think about when you vote in November’s election.

TOM PURCELL is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is nationally syndicated. Readers can contact him at tom@tompurcell.com.

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