Prop 22: App-based drivers become independent contractors


Imogen Rogers

Prop 22 would make app-based drivers independent contractors.


With election season fully underway, it’s important to stay educated on your state’s propositions. California Proposition 22 focuses on the employment status of rideshare and food delivery workers, affecting companies such as Doordash, Uber and Lyft.

“The ballot measure would override Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5), signed in September 2019, on the question of whether app-based drivers are employees or independent contractors,” said


A “yes” on Prop 22 would mean that these companies would continue to consider their workers as independent contractors. Drivers can determine when, where, and how they work. However, this means that they lack the employee benefits required to be provided by businesses.

Supporters of Yes on 22 include the rideshare and food delivery workers in question, and the favoring political party is Republicans. 

“On August 30, 2019, three companies—DoorDash, Lyft, and Uber—each placed $30 million into campaign accounts,” said ballotpedia.

As employees, rideshare workers would be given stricter, more specific hours. Their current flexibility has proven necessary to those dependent upon affordable rideshare systems at all hours of the day.

“Rides would be more expensive, which would significantly reduce the number of rides people could take and, in turn, the number of drivers needed to provide those trips,” said Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi.

One significantly positive impact of rideshare workers is their contribution to the decrease in drunk driving.

“Fewer rideshare drivers in California could mean more people choosing to get behind the wheel when they’re under the influence,” said president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Helen Witty.

Rideshare companies and their customers would lose key safety and accessibility aspects if Proposition 22 is not passed. 


A “no” on Prop 22 would mean that these workers lose their independence, but gain the employee benefits. 

“Independent contractors [would] not [be] covered by various state employment laws—including minimum wage, overtime, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation,” said

Opposers of Prop 22 include the Service Employees International Union, United Food & Commercial Workers Union 770, and the Western States Issues PAC. Evidently, the top 5 donors to No on 22 were union-affiliated committees. The favoring political party is Democrats. 

“Labor unions or union-affiliated committees…  were the top-five donors to No on Prop 22,” said

This is not Proposition 22’s initial debut. 

“These companies have lost in the legislative process, they’ve lost in court. Now this is a last-ditch but well-funded effort to permanently take control of all terms and conditions of employment of their workers,” said director of the Work Structures Portfolio at the NELP, Rebecca Smith.

It is also noteworthy that rideshare drivers tend to be immigrants looking for work in the U.S. With the introduction of a global pandemic as well, ridesharing has begun to be considered a health risk along with having its initial safety concerns.

“The people who are suffering the most right now, in the middle of a pandemic and a racial reckoning, are the ones who are going to lose the most if this initiative passes,” said executive director of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, Chris Figueredo.

This Proposition has already tried and failed, and it’s not unrealistic to believe that history may repeat itself.