Uber motorists take legal action against, state business ‘pushed’ them to support Prop 22


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Uber has actually been sending out motorists in-app messages about its California tally procedure.

James Martin/CNET

Uber motorists have actually been getting in-app messages from the business inquiring about assistance for Proposition 22 prior to they begin getting trips. Proposition 22 is the tally procedure project in California backed by Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart and Postmates, which intends to keep motorists categorized as independent professionals.

Now, 2 motorists are taking legal action against Uber stating those in-app messages broke their work rights. The proposed class-action fit, submitted Thursday in a San Francisco Superior Court and initially reported by The Washington Post, declares Uber has “unlawfully” pressed motorists to “vote for and advocate for the passage of Proposition 22.” Under California law, companies are forbidden from being associated with the political activities of their employees.

“Uber’s threats and constant barrage of Prop 22 propaganda on an app the drivers must use to do their work have one purpose: to coerce the drivers to support Uber’s political battle to strip them of workplace protections,” David Lowe, partner at Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe and a lawyer for the motorists, stated in a declaration.

The fight over Proposition 22 has actually warmed up the last couple of months as Uber and the other gig economy business have actually put almost $200 million into the tally procedure project, making it the most pricey in California history. The project has flooded citizens with mailers, text, call and ads. The business state their organizations will be damaged if required to categorize gig employees as staff members. 

The No on Proposition 22 side, backed by labor groups and unions, has actually contributed more than $15 million to its project. It states motorists should have to be categorized as staff members and get advantages, like base pay, healthcare and authorized leave. 

Uber’s in-app messages to motorists consist of details about Proposition 22 and ask motorists for their positions, according to KQED. Some messages list project talking points, such as countless tasks will be cut if Proposition 22 stops working which the tally procedure “would protect the flexibility that drivers and delivery people like you value.” Under California law, staff members are permitted to have versatile work.

The messages likewise ask motorists to tape a 30- to 60-2nd video of themselves stating why versatility is or isn’t crucial and whether they support Proposition 22, according to a screenshot consisted of in the suit problem. In one message, motorists are asked to pick “Yes on Prop 22” or “OK.” 

“Almost every time we log on, we are fed more one-sided information to pressure us into supporting Prop 22,” Ben Valdez, an Uber chauffeur and a complainant in the event, stated in a declaration. “Threatening that most of us will lose our jobs if Prop 22 passes is a scare tactic, pure and simple.”

The suit declares that motorists cannot prevent seeing these messages whenever they open the app. It likewise states that motorists fear retaliation from Uber if they do not take part in the in-app studies or state they support Proposition 22. The assumed retaliation noted in the problem consists of less beneficial or less abundant journeys, or no journeys at all.

Uber didn’t return several ask for remark.

Joining the 2 Uber motorists noted in the suit are 2 not-for-profit companies, Worksafe and Chinese Progressive Association. The fit looks for a court order to stop Uber from sending out these in-app messages. Additional claims have actually been submitted with the California Labor Commissioner that look for civil charges. 

“Uber’s actions are old-school exploitation,” Shaw San Liu, arranging director of Chinese Progressive Association, stated in a declaration. “Coercing their workforce to support the company’s political position. It’s undemocratic and a violation of basic workplace right.” 

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