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California Supreme Court Turns Down Opportunity to Hear Prop 22 Challenge

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On Wednesday, California’s high court decided not to hear a union-backed lawsuit challenging Proposition 22, the gig-work ballot measure that maintains the independent contractor status of Uber and Lyft drivers, among other workers. According to an Associated Press article by Brian Melley published yesterday, the union can still submit the case to a lower state court.

A TechCrunch article by Megan Rose Dickey explained the Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) constitutional challenge to the law argued that the voter-passed proposition makes it more difficult for California legislators to craft and implement a workers’ compensation system for those employed by the gig economy. In addition, SEIU reportedly argued that the proposition violates the state’s rule limiting ballot measures to a single issue.

The drivers’ union also contended that the referendum “unconstitutionally defines what would count as an amendment to the measure,” according to TechCrunch. As written, the law reportedly requires a seven-eighths legislative supermajority in order to make amendment.

TechCrunch also conveyed one of the SEIU plaintiffs’ frustration with the decision. “We are disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear our case, but make no mistake: we are not deterred in our fight to win a livable wage and basic rights,” Hector Castellanos said in a statement. “We will consider every option available to protect California workers from attempts by companies like Uber and Lyft to subvert our democracy and attack our rights in order to improve their bottom lines.”

By contrast, a rideshare driver who supported and campaigned for Prop 22 expressed gratitude. “We’re thankful, but not surprised, that the California Supreme Court has rejected this meritless lawsuit,” Jim Pyatt said. He further commented, “[w]e’re hopeful this will send a strong signal to special interests to stop trying to undermine the will of voters who overwhelmingly stood with drivers to pass Proposition 22. The ballot measure was supported by nearly 60 percent of California voters across the political spectrum including hundreds of thousands of app-based drivers. It’s time to respect the vast majority of California voters as well as the drivers most impacted by Prop 22.”

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