California concert workers law unconstitutional, according to judge's rules

A California law that guarantees many workers in concert are considered independent contractors, while offering them limited benefits, i...


A California law that guarantees many workers in concert are considered independent contractors, while offering them limited benefits, is unconstitutional and unenforceable, a California Superior Court judge ruled Friday evening.

The move is not likely to immediately affect the new law and will certainly be the subject of appeals from Uber and other so-called odd-job companies. He reopened the debate on whether the drivers of carpooling services and delivery couriers are employees who deserve all the benefits, or independent contractors who are responsible for their own businesses and benefits.

Last year’s Proposition 22, a voting initiative backed by Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and other platforms in the concert economy, created a third classification for workers, giving workers limited benefits while still leaving them free. preventing them from being considered employees of the tech giants. The initiative was approved in November with over 58% of the vote.

But the drivers and the Service Employees International Union have filed a complaint challenging the constitutionality of the law. The group argued that Proposition 22 was unconstitutional because it limited the ability of the state legislature to allow workers to organize and access workers’ compensation.

The law also requires a seven-eighths majority for the legislature to pass any amendment to Proposition 22, a qualified majority that was considered virtually impossible to achieve.

Judge Frank Roesch said in her decision that Proposition 22 violated the California Constitution because it prevented the legislature from making concert workers eligible for workers’ compensation.

“The entirety of Proposition 22 is inapplicable,” he wrote, creating yet another legal upheaval in the long battle over workers’ labor rights in concert.

“I think the judge made a very good decision in concluding that Proposition 22 is unconstitutional because it contained unusual provisions,” said Veena Dubal, a professor at Hastings College of Law at the University of California who studies economy of concerts and filed a brief in the case supporting the position of conductors. “It was written so comprehensively to prevent workers from having access to rights decided by the legislature.”

Scott Kronland, a driver’s lawyer, praised Judge Roesch’s ruling. “Our position is that he is absolutely right and that his decision will be upheld on appeal,” Kronland said.

But odd-job companies argued the judge erred in “ignoring a century of case law requiring courts to protect voters’ right of initiative,” said Geoff Vetter, spokesperson for the Protect App-Based Drivers & Services Coalition, a group that represents concert platforms.

A spokesperson for Uber said the move ignored the majority of California voters who support Proposition 22. “We will appeal and we hope to win,” spokesman Noah Edwardsen said. “Until then, Proposition 22 remains in effect, including all of the protections and benefits it offers to self-employed workers statewide.”

Uber and other gig economy companies are pursuing similar legislation in Massachusetts. This month, a coalition of companies tabled a ballot proposal that could allow state voters to decide next year whether concert workers should be considered independent contractors.

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Newsrust - US Top News: California concert workers law unconstitutional, according to judge's rules
California concert workers law unconstitutional, according to judge's rules
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