Uber and Postmates call gig worker bill AB-5 unconstitutional

Uber and Postmates file complaint against AB-5 bill

Postmates and Uber have recently lodged a complaint in California federal district court. In the complaint, they have mentioned that a gig worker bill, which limits how companies to label workers, is unconstitutional. The complaint also includes two gig workers as co-plaintiffs. Moreover, it was filed in U.S. District Court on Monday before the Assembly Bill 5 become applicable. Both the companies have clearly stated that the bill AB-5 should be dismissed.   

According to the complaint, AB-5 violates many clauses in California and the U.S. constitution. For example, the way it classifies the gig workers for on-demand delivery companies.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez commenced AB-5. Moreover, the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, signed into the bill in September. The bill is an effort to maintain the decision in Dynamex Operation West Inc. Vs. the Los Angeles Court. This decision ensures that the gig workers get all benefits, like health insurance, minimum wage, and workers’ compensation.  

California Governor Gavin Newsom

However, the opposing side is the tech companies whose model relies on the gig economy. They argue that this law will restrict their ability to earn money and limiting their opportunities.  

Other than Postmates and Uber, the complaints’ plaintiffs also include Miguel Perez and Lydia Olson. In a blog post, Perez wrote that he became a part of the suit because AB-5 “that AB-5 challenges the freedom of gig workers.” 

A recent statement from Postmates said, “AB5 is a blunt instrument. That’s why the lawmakers have removed around 24 industries from its requirements.” The company also added that it doesn’t want to be released from AB-5. It said, “We want to have talks with California legislature to modernize the safety laws designed specifically for on-demand workers. We want a new law that gives benefits creates earnings, gives a strong voice to workers, and ensures higher than minimum wage. Currently, this framework hasn’t been contemplated by federal law and state.” 

Postmates also said, “The majority of the bill is a list of exemptions that excludes several occupations. These include travel agents, grant writers, truck drivers, commercial fishermen, and direct salespeople. There is no solid reason for these exclusions. Moreover, some clauses are so unexplanatory that it’s hard to find out what they include or exclude.” The complaint also mentions that AB-5 prevents individuals from working for gig companies.   

Gonzalez said in a statement, “The one thing that is quite clear is that Uber will do anything to exclude itself from the laws which ensure the safety of gig workers. Uber’s executives and management continue to become billionaires while the drivers have to spend sleepless nights in their cars.” However, Uber said in response that they do their best to ensure the safety of their workers. The company introduced an app recently to connect gig workers and employers

The lawsuit is one of several efforts made by Uber to limit AB-5. Back in October, many drivers for DoorDash, Uber, and Lyft announced that they had submitted the ballot initiative as a response to AB-5. Several gig companies gave financial support to this step. This initiative wants to enable drivers to continue to be independent contractors and ensures benefits, like insurance, healthcare, expenses, and minimum wage.  

Earlier this month, many freelance writers lodged a lawsuit in the federal court in Los Angeles. The lawsuit mentioned that AB-5 limits free speech. This lawsuit is in response to Vox Media, which suggested that it will end many freelance positions due to the bill.  

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