Secretary Treasurer, Deliana Speights

Deliana Speights

Judge rules against Prop. 22
citing anti-union provisions

By Deliana Speights, Secretary-Treasurer

Citing Proposition 22’s anti-union provisions, a California judge ruled on Aug. 20 that the ballot initiative, which took rights away from Uber and Lyft drivers, violates the state’s constitution and is “unenforceable in its entirety.”

Our union opposed Prop. 22 from the start. It’s an outrageous manifestation of corporate greed that was designed specifically to serve special interests with deep pockets.

This is just another example of why your union is so heavily involved in politics. We have to be!

Regardless of weather or not you agree with the people in office, there are those out there who are far worse and will always try to take away from us what we’ve fought so hard and long to achieve for the working women and men of this union.

What happened?

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch said in his ruling that Prop. 22 runs afoul of the constitution’s requirement that ballot initiatives must be held to a single subject.

Roesch said the anti-union provisions aren’t mentioned in the measure’s stated objectives, which include, in Roesch’s words, “protecting the opportunity for Californians to drive their cars on an independent contractor basis, to provide the drivers with certain minimum welfare standards, and to set minimum consumer protection and safety standards.”

The judge said Prop. 22’s anti-union language “appears only to protect the economic interests of the network companies in having a divided, un-unionized workforce.”

The initiative also violates the constitution by allowing the companies to determine which workers qualify for workers’ compensation. This is a right reserved for the state legislature, Roesch said.

In his Aug. 24 column in the Los Angeles Times, business writer Michael Hiltzik noted California’s voters approved Prop. 22 last November after Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart “swamped the opposition” with a $205 million advertising campaign.

The results, Hiltzik wrote, “deprived the workers of benefits such as overtime pay, unemployment and workers’ compensation coverage,” as well as the right to unionize. “The companies, in other words, used their wealth to reshape labor laws in their sole interest.”

Hiltzik said the companies are likely to appeal Judge Roesch’s ruling in the lawsuit, which was filed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) on behalf of four gig drivers.

The appeals process could take several months, Hiltzik said. It was unclear at press time whether Prop. 22’s terms would remain in effect during the process.

Deliana can be reached at: 909-626-3333 ext. 226      dspeights@ufcw1428.org

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