More importantly, this is the ugliest version of money in politics. Gig platforms lobbied hard last summer to keep AB-5 from passing or to see that their industries were exempt from the law. They were unsuccessful. Now, they are spending $200 million-plus in marketing a proposition they wrote themselves. They are literally writing their own rules. When you have corporations writing their own regulations on how to treat a low-wage, largely people of color workforce, Californians cannot tolerate this blatant abuse of power.
Second, the proposition sets thresholds to qualify for wage guarantees and benefits so high, that the industry wouldn't need to change much at all. If it were to pass, these companies would also be able to act this way in perpetuity, given that any passed proposition takes a ⅞ supermajority to overturn.
1. If the proposition fails, will my fares go up?
Gig platforms may decide to do that. But they definitely don't have to. Companies could just reduce their commission from 40% to ~15% to comply with all labor/employment laws and keep prices the same. Check the math here.
2. But I heard drivers want Prop 22 to pass. Is that not true?!
Firstly, gig platforms have been extremely manipulative in getting workers to express support for Prop 22/against AB-5. Some tactics I have seen firsthand include offering free tacos, forcing drivers to accept that they support the proposition before being able to enter the app, and paying drivers $1,000 to appear in commercials. So right off the bat, I don't trust a lot of their "survey data." But yes -- some drivers are scared they'll lose their jobs if this were to fail, and many fear losing flexibility of hours.
On the number of drivers, for sure, platforms will try some shady tactics. For instance, in New York, Uber started locking drivers out of the app to comply with minimum wage requirements, rather than just paying a minimum wage. But if the platforms have to reduce the number of workers on their platforms, this is an admission that these workers are in fact not making minimum wage. [...]
9. If Prop 22 doesn't pass, won't Uber and Lyft pull out of California?
California is home to two major cities for ride-hailing and food delivery platforms: San Francisco and Los Angeles. Platforms that don't require workers to be in the same place as customers (for example, UpWork, translation platforms, etc.) may choose to not operate in California. But the largest platforms, and those spending on passing Prop 22, require workers and customers to be in the same place, and California accounts for ~40% of their U.S. business, so... extremely unlikely they'll pull out.
The complaint alleges that Uber's messaging implies that drivers must support Prop 22 or risk possible termination, should the ballot proposition not pass on November 3. [...]
"The language of the statute doesn't require the company to come out and say explicitly 'you're gonna be fired', it says that you can't use the threat of a loss of employment, which is exactly what Uber is doing," said Lowe. "Uber is saying 'if Prop 22 fails, 70 to 80 percent of you are going to lose your jobs'. [California] Labor Code section 1102 says you can't use the threat of a loss of employment as an attempt to coerce someone to engage in a particular political course of action."
Lowe also said that Uber's messages to drivers through its app, which he says solicit drivers' support for Prop 22, are a clear violation of state labor laws because those messages are a policy which is intended to influence how drivers will vote on Prop 22.
"[Labor Code] section 1101 says you can't have a policy that 'tends to direct' political activity of workers. And Uber is putting very coercive messages on the app that the drivers are required to access on a regular basis throughout the day and including in those messages requests to provide support for Prop 22, misleading information about the benefits of Prop 22, all of this is part of a policy intended to direct the employees to do what they are requesting them to do, which is to support Prop 22," said Lowe.
Now normally I have a visceral, knee-jerk allergy to advertising in pretty much any form (and I don't even drink Coke, see sidebar), but I have to admit that I have some love for that Coke sign.
It was so old and janky and never worked right! Half of the lights seemed to run on Lucas three-position switch technology (off, dim and flicker) and it was a different half almost every night. I have long had this fantasy that the reason the sign always looked like that is that there is only one guy left in the world who knows how to fix the mechanical relays that drive its pattern logic, and that guy is 95 and has trouble getting up and down the ladder to sweep the birdshit out of the contacts with his vintage Nineteenth-century wire brush.
That's how it is in my head, anyway. If the reality is not actually like that, then I don't want to know.
But anyway, replacing it with a slick, modern LED facimile? Feh! I shake an angry fist.
Then the LEDs started flaking out in a similar, but different, way to the old neon tubes! The quality of the light still wasn't the same, but at least it eventually reverted back to "janky-assed and un-maintained", which was what was charming about the original version.
At least there was that.
Is this Cyberpunk? I guess it might be: ubiquitous technology that doesn't work. This giant TV screen on the side of Moscone has been running a halfassed implementation of "Mismunch" since about a month after it went up. Why do they even leave it powered up? Maybe nobody remembers how to turn it off.
When it first went up, they played this panoramic movie on it that was timed so that as the sign crawled its way around the building, it looked like the video was a stationary window into a room full of giants. Stock-photo-model-businessman giants. It was kind of cool.
Ever since then: ten years of Munching Squares.
A new life awaits you in the Moscone Colonies! Press any key to continue.
We spoke with a representative of the sign's maker at YESCO Bay Area, who confirmed that the sign is being removed permanently, when asked what would become of the sign, he said, "Coca-cola's contract stipulates that it be destroyed after removal."
It is not clear why Coca-cola is removing its famous, neon billboard, one that has stood 112ft above San Francisco since 1937. Perhaps it's because commuter traffic is down in the Bay Area by 20% due to the pandemic, or maybe it's because of San Francisco's very vocal, anti-soda stance and 2016 Soda Tax, which charged everyone an extra tax for buying sugary drinks. This tax raised millions of dollars over the last 4 years by the way, $1.65 million of those soda tax funds are currently being used to provide emergency food for people affected by COVID-19).