A major labor union and several ride-hailing drivers are suing to overturn a newly passed ballot measure classifying gig workers as independent contractors in California.
The Washington Post reports that the groups filed suit Tuesday in California’s Supreme Court, alleging Proposition 22 violates the state constitution and limits the power of state legislators to implement certain worker protections they are authorized to grant.
The suit, filed by Service Employees International Union and a group of ride-hailing drivers, asks the state Supreme Court to invalidate Prop 22, which cemented gig driver’s status as independent contractors after more than 58 percent of voters supported it in November.
They argue the measure limits state legislators’ ability to implement a system of workers’ compensation in defiance of their constitutional authority to do so. It also argues that the proposition unconstitutionally defines what comprises an amendment to the measure, as well as violating a rule limiting ballot measures to a single subject to prevent voter confusion.
The Protect App-Based Drivers and Services coalition, which represents gig companies such as Uber, Lyft and Doordash, criticized the lawsuit in a statement attributed to Uber driver Jim Pyatt, an activist who has worked in favor of Prop 22.
The groups that filed the suit, which also include SEIU California State Council, took particular issue with the measure’s inclusion of a provision requiring a seven-eighths legislative supermajority to amend and even define what constitutes an amendment. That authority, they say, is vested with the courts.
The lawsuit blasts the measure’s drafters as having “impermissibly” usurped this Court’s authority to ‘say what the law is’ by determining what constitutes an ‘amendment.’”
Further, they argued, they violated the single-subject rule by “burying these cryptic amendment provisions on subjects not substantively addressed in the measure, and in language that most voters would not understand.”
They said they were suing in the state Supreme Court rather than a lower court because the issues were of broad public importance and required a speedy resolution to minimize harm to gig workers.