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Prop 22 Passed in California. What’s Ahead For Gig Workers Nationwide?

App-based drivers from Uber and Lyft protest against Prop 22 in a caravan in front of City Hall in Los Angeles. The ballot measure was approved by voters and will classify app-based drivers as independent contractors instead of employees.
App-based drivers from Uber and Lyft protest against Prop 22 in a caravan in front of City Hall in Los Angeles. The ballot measure was approved by voters and will classify app-based drivers as independent contractors instead of employees.

Last week, voters in California passed Proposition 22.

The ballot measure exempts app-based companies like Uber, Lyft and Instacart from classifying their workers as employees. It received more than 58 percent of votes in favor. Now, these workers will remain independent contractors, with a few benefits attached for drivers and a wage floor.

The new law comes after months of legal battles and threats by Uber and Lyft to shut down in the state over reclassification. Just two weeks before Election Day, a California court of appeals reaffirmed a previous decision that the companies must classify their drivers as employees.

Still, the app-based companies spent millions on advertising supporting the proposition before the election. Both companies have now said they plan to pursue similar ballot measures around the country, arguing that the flexibility of working as an independent contractor is a benefit for drivers. But opponents of Prop 22 say it leaves workers ineligible for employee protections like minimum wage and health insurance.

Who decides what worker flexibility is? And what could other similar measures around the country look like?

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