Uber and Lyft have stepped up their actions the Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) being tabled in the State Senate of California. According to a new report, the companies are spending a whopping $60 million to throw a wrench in the process and stop the passage of the bill.
The bill, which will work towards changing worker classification in California and challenges the companies' business model was bound to have them up in arms. They currently work using "independent contractors," who actually comprise people working bigger shifts than regular drivers. While they don't get any benefits that the company would have to give them if they were regular workers, they can be fired easily by ride-sharing companies.
Margaret Roosevelt, California economy, labour, and workplace reporter for L.A. Times reported on Thursday, that the companies are lobbying senators so that they can gain an exception under the bill.
The move is in contrast with the workers' demands. On Wednesday, drivers marched in a caravan of cars from one end of California to the other.
Uber and Lyft are not the only ones exploiting the current classification of independent workers. It extends to food delivery companies and others, which is why delivery service DoorDash has pledged another $30 million.
The companies are banking on a long drawn ballot measure fight, which could put a strain on senators and stymie the passage of the bill. They have also offered an alternative – they won't go through with it if they can come into an greement with California Governor Gavin Newsom and trade unions.
This points to a loophole in the US legislative system, which allows companies to throw money at an issue and challenge genuine workers' rights protests.
Lorena Gonzalez, California 80th District Assemblywoman posted on Twitter and pointed out the hypocrisy of such companies – "Billionaires who say they can't pay minimum wages to their workers say they will spend tens of millions to avoid labor laws. Just pay your damn workers!"
The companies though, are late to the game. The bill has already passed through the assembly. Whether it passes through the Senate remains to be seen.