Newsom signs AB 5 labor law, setting up bitter gig economy fight – Daily News

on Sep18
by | Comments Off on Newsom signs AB 5 labor law, setting up bitter gig economy fight – Daily News |

Calling it landmark legislation for workers, California Gov. Newsom on Wednesday signed a bill that could remake the gig economy.

AB 5 would codify a state Supreme Court ruling last year that simplifies the test for when a worker should be classified as an employee. The contentious legislation is expected to affect Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing services, plus other companies that use on-demand workers and independent contractors.

“The hollowing out of our middle-class has been 40 years in the making, and the need to create lasting economic security for our workforce demands action,” Newsom, who had previously voiced support for the bill, said in his signing letter. “Assembly Bill 5 is an important step.”

A defiant Uber said last week that it is “no stranger to legal battles” and that it would not classify its drivers as employees when the bill becomes law in January.

The San Francisco company, which has offered concessions short of classifying drivers as employees and been negotiating with labor leaders and the governor, said through a spokesman Wednesday that “California is missing a real opportunity to lead the nation by improving the quality, security and dignity of independent work.”

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, wrote the bill and cheered its signing Wednesday: “Today, we are disrupting the status quo and taking a bold step forward to rebuild our middle class and reshape the future of workers as we know it.”

Ride-hailing drivers have for the past few months protested and held rallies up and down California in support of AB 5.

“This historic occasion is a win for misclassified workers who finally have a tool to demand their earned rights and protections,” said Gig Workers Rising, a Bay Area group that advocates for drivers and other workers.

One of those workers is Edan Alva, an Alameda resident who drives for Lyft.

“By standing up to Uber and Lyft we have started a movement that will lift up millions of workers,” Alva said in a statement Wednesday. “AB5 must be enforced and we will keep fighting for a path to a real union so drivers like me can ensure we have things like health insurance for ourselves and our family.”

Ride-hailing giants Uber, Lyft — and food delivery startup DoorDash — have put $90 million into a fund for a campaign that will bring the issue to voters. Lyft and DoorDash have not yet returned requests for comment.

This story will be updated.

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