California’s gig worker Prop 22 ruled unconstitutional by superior court – TechCrunch

A superior court judge ruled that California's Proposition 22 (which was passed in 2020 to replace the controversial AB-5 law regarding gig worker employment status) violates the state constitution.
Frank Roesch is a Superior Court Judge in Alameda County. This area includes Oakland, Berkeley, and most of the East Bay. He ruled that the law would limit a future legislature's ability to determine the employment status for gig workers. After a similar suit was rejected by the California Supreme Court, the Service Employees International Union filed the lawsuit in January. It was referred to a lower court.

The court's decision will be appealed almost certain and further legal arguments can be expected.

Today's decision by Judge Roesch to strike down Proposition 22 was crystal clear: The gig industry-funded initiative for a ballot measure was illegal and therefore cannot be enforced, stated Bob Schoonover, President, SEIU California State Council, in a statement. Drivers have been arguing for two years that democracy can't be bought. Today's decision proves that they were correct.

This is the latest victory in a long series of defeats and victories in the fight between gig workers such as Uber and DoorDash and unions and advocates for workers. The debate is centered on the legal distinction between an employee and a freelancer, as well as the extent to which companies are responsible for the care of their workers.

This distinction is huge business: Uber, Lyft, and other companies spent over $200 million to help win Prop 22 last year. California voters approved the proposition with a 59% to 41% vote, widely regarded as a significant victory for gig worker platforms.

However, such fights do not end at Silicon Valley's home state. Uber lost a legal battle in the United Kingdom over its employment classification decisions. In the end, it reclassified tens to thousands of its drivers workers. This decision offered them a variety of benefits that were not available previously.

Updated August 20, 2020 to include a statement by SEIU.