Ocasio-Cortez blasts former Dem senator for helping Lyft fight gig worker bill

Ocasio-Cortez blasts former Dem senator for helping Lyft fight gig worker bill
© Greg Nash

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezSanders 'very concerned about what appears to be a coup' in Bolivia Trump celebrates resignation of Bolivia's president Sanders touts big crowds in Iowa rallies with Ocasio-Cortez MORE (D-N.Y.) called out former Democratic Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerHillicon Valley: Ocasio-Cortez clashes with former Dem senator over gig worker bill | Software engineer indicted over Capital One breach | Lawmakers push Amazon to remove unsafe products Ocasio-Cortez blasts former Dem senator for helping Lyft fight gig worker bill Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates MORE (Calif.) on Thursday for working on behalf of Lyft to fight a California bill that would make it harder for the ride-hailing platform and other gig economy companies to withhold employee benefits.

“Fmr officials should not become corporate lobbyists, in letter or spirit. It’s an abuse of power + a stain on public service,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter Thursday. “I don’t care if it’s a Democrat doing it (both parties do). In fact, that makes it worse — we’re supposed to fight FOR working people, not against them.”

Boxer wrote an op-ed earlier this week for the San Francisco Chronicle in which she criticized the bill and revealed that she was hired by Lyft as an adviser.

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Neither Boxer nor Lyft immediately responded when asked for comment.

The legislation, called AB-5, would make it harder for companies such as Lyft and Uber to classify their drivers as independent contractors as opposed to employees, which would entitle them to significantly better benefits.

The companies see the pending legislation as a significant threat to their business models. In her op-ed, Boxer argued it would also mean that drivers would lose the freewheeling nature of their ad hoc work for gig platforms.

“Switching to an employee model will mean far fewer opportunities to drive,” she wrote. “For many drivers, the lack of flexibility will put driving out of reach completely.”

The bill has garnered an unusual amount of national political attention. Three of the top contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination — Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTech firms face skepticism over California housing response Press: Another billionaire need not apply Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick mulling 2020 run: report MORE (I-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden: 'I'm more of a Democrat from my shoe sole to my ears' than anyone else running Press: Another billionaire need not apply Saagar Enjeti dismisses Warren, Klobuchar claims of sexism MORE (D-Mass.) and Boxer’s successor Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisPress: Another billionaire need not apply Saagar Enjeti dismisses Warren, Klobuchar claims of sexism New book questions Harris's record on big banks MORE (D-Calif.) — have all backed the proposal and argued for more worker protections in the burgeoning gig economy.