A California Bill Has Uber and Lyft Running Scared

Ride-hail companies desperate to stop a proposed California law that would force them to treat workers as employees are suddenly offering to boost driver pay and benefits. And they’ve pledged $60 million to fund a state ballot measure aimed at keeping drivers from being classified as employees.

Uber and Lyft said on Wednesday that they’re willing to pay California drivers a minimum of “approximately” $21 per hour, including some expenses, though that pay rate would only apply while the drivers are on a trip. (More on that later.) They say they would provide drivers access to “robust new benefits,” like paid time off, sick leave, and a form of workers’ compensation. The companies also said they would “empower” drivers to “have a collective voice” and to “influence decisions about their work.” The proposal did not, notably, include the word “union”.

On Thursday, the companies announced that they had amassed a $60 million war chest to fund a 2020 state ballot measure. The measure would create an alternative classification for drivers, and it would provide some worker protections and a guaranteed minimum pay rate—but would not consider them employees. The delivery company DoorDash also contributed $30 million to the effort. …

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