COSTA MESA (CBSLA) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 5 into law Wednesday.
The law will mean big changes — and more benefits — for workers who are currently considered independent contractors, including those who drive for Uber and Lyft, but not everyone was happy about it.
“Why is it all of the sudden happening now,” Sherry Honnen, who drives for both Uber and Lyft, said. “To me, that’s ridiculous.”
While the new law has some exceptions, Uber and Lyft would have to offer drivers minimum wage, overtime pay, sick leave, family leave and contribute to social security and medicare starting Jan. 1 of next year.
“I’m a private contractor,” Gilberto Razdo, who also drives for both Uber and Lyft, said. “That’s best for me.”
Razdo said he preferred being an independent contractor, because it meant that he was the one who controlled his schedule.
Stacey Papernay, who uses rideshare services, said the the move by Newsom flies in the face of the original goal of the companies.
“Uber started off as freelance,” she said. “They’re supposed to be a rideshare company. This was supposed to be like a, ‘Hey, I’m on my way home. Let me see if there’s somebody I can pick up to help the environment and give them a ride home.”
But Tim Gibson, who owns a taxi company, said he was in favor of the move because it improves passenger safety.
“They gotta fingerprint them, do Live Scan, do urine tests and make them get the right insurance,” he said. “They don’t check that out like they do in cab businesses and transportation authorities.”
Tech companies previously warned the law could ruin their businesses and fought hard against it.
Uber, Lyft and DoorDash announced back in August that they would pay $30 million each to fund an initiative campaign for the California ballot that would create the new gig worker category.
Uber released a statement following the passage of the law:
“We’ve engaged in good faith with the legislature, the Newsom administration and labor leaders for nearly a year on this issue, and we believe California is missing a real opportunity to lead the nation by improving the quality, security and dignity of independent work.”
The California Labor Federation, which has spoken out in support of the bill, also issued a statement that read in part:
“Today’s signing of AB 5 is one of the most significant victories for workers in a generation. For far too long, big corporations skirted their responsibility to provide basic protections to workers by calling them independent contractors instead of recognizing them as employees. With his signature on AB 5, Gov. Newsom sends a clear message that blatant exploitation of working people won’t be tolerated in California.”