Contract Workers

Uber and Lyft drivers rally at the Capitol in 2014. Photo by Shawn Hubler for CALmatters

WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO

Codifies the 2018 Dynamex decision by the California Supreme Court that makes it harder for gig workers, truckers and other industries to classify workers as independent contractors. The bill, AB 5, provides exemptions for a host of professional and specialized services from doctors to hairdressers.

WHO SUPPORTS IT?

In a word: unions. The bill was sponsored by the California Labor Federation and backed by the Service Employees International Union, Teamsters, State Building & Construction Trades Council of California as well as Gig Workers Rising and Mobile Workers Alliance.

WHO’S OPPOSED?

Gig employers such as Uber, Lyft and DoorDash have already contributed $90 million to a ballot measure in order to keep workers classified as contractors. The trucking industry and hospitals are also opposed.  

WHY IT MATTERS

California is the birthplace of the gig economy but it is also a state of growing wealth inequality. The bill is labor’s boldest effort to date to secure better wages, workplace standards and expand collective bargaining rights.

GOVERNOR’S CALL

Newsom said he backed the bill, but also committed to continuing negotiations with California-based gig behemoths Uber and Lyft. He signed AB 5 Sept. 18, 2019, calling AB 5 “landmark legislation for workers and our economy,” but alluded to the federal obstacles to collective bargaining for gig workers, and called for “pathways for more workers to form a union” as a next step.