In a series of general and misleading advertisements, corporate backers of Propositions 22 and 23 show their grubby hands
If you’ve been on the internet over the past two or three weeks you have seen a Yes on Prop 22 ad. These ads provide vague promises of “guaranteed earnings, healthcare benefits, and personal protections” while also touting the freedom of schedule that being an independent contractor would provide.
This proposition comes at the perfect time for Uber and Lyft as California’s Assembly Bill 5 in 2019, drivers for those companies will be treated as employees. Uber & Lyft attempted to overturn the bill but it was upheld last Thurs., Oct. 22.
If Proposition 22 passes, Uber and Lyft will be able to continue to treat their workers as independent contractors rather than employees.
Before 2019, Uber and Lyft were able to classify their workers as independent contractors by arguing that they were not a transportation company, but merely a tech platform. This means that the drivers for Uber are merely partners with the app and are not required to be classified as employees like they would be if they worked for any other transportation company.
The healthcare benefits guaranteed by Proposition 22 come under the condition that drivers have 25 hours of “engaged time” a week. “Engaged time” is defined as the period of time from when the driver accepts a ride until they complete the ride.
At first glance this would provide benefits for a little over 25 hours of work but according to some rideshare drivers, over half of the time they spend using the app is actually spent waiting for a ride. It would be very likely that drivers would have to work more than 40 hours a week for these benefits.
Advertisements also quote that “If drivers are forced to become employees, up to 90 percent of app-based driving jobs could disappear.” This statistic was not sourced. If a company is not able to provide their employees the minimum wage and benefits, required by California labor laws, then they are not a viable company.
Proposition 23 requires that a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant be on site during dialysis treatment. Additionally, it prohibits clinics from reducing services without state approval, and from refusing to treat patients based on payment source.
As it currently stands, any complications that come up have to be sent to the ER and handled offsite, lengthening the amount of time it takes for a patient to get care and complicating treatment.
Advertisements have stated that Prop 23’s enactment would threaten to close many dialysis centers. Written directly into Prop 23 is that clinics cannot reduce services without state approval. There are provisions that allow for clinics to hire nurse practitioners or physicians’ assistants in the event of shortages of doctors. Currently, all dialysis clinics are required to have a doctor on staff to be the medical director, but they do not have to be onsite.
Dialysis clinics in California boast an annual revenue of more than $3 billion. This booming industry is not one that would be destroyed by higher standards of care and more providers. Rather, this highlights the way that their ad campaigns utilize fear tactics about closing clinics and rising costs to justify putting patient safety at risk to line their own pockets.