Since September 2019 when the Legislature passed California Assembly Bill (AB) 5, categorizing app-based drivers as employees rather than independent contract workers, Uber and Lyft have been in panic mode as they attempt to undo this significant piece of workers rights legislation. The tech giants’ response was to grind the implementation of the law to a halt in the courts while getting Proposition 22 on the ballot in November.
The proposition, effectively a referendum on AB 5, would nullify the legislature’s attempt to protect workers from corporate wage theft under the guise of the “mystery of the platform” — a manifestation of commodity fetishism in the 21st century. On August 20, Uber and Lyft were successful in persuading the First District Court of Appeal to grant an injunction, stalling a previous court decision requiring the ride hailing services to reclassify the workers as employees. This occured days after they threw a statewide public relations temper tantrum threatening to shut down service in California and laying bare for all to see that these glorified dispatch services have too much influence on the courts and little regard for democratic process.
Oral arguments for the ongoing proceedings are scheduled for October 13, when the companies are expected to argue for a continuation of the injunction until after the election on November 3, which is another travesty for workers who are still suffering through the ongoing nightmare of the disastrously managed response to the pandemic and in need of justice.