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-CortezOvernight Energy: Court upholds Trump repeal of Obama fracking rule | Oil price drop threatens fracking boom | EPA eases rules on gasoline sales amid coronavirus Ocasio-Cortez blasts coronavirus stimulus package as 'shameful' on House floor Oil price drop threatens US fracking boom MORE (D-N.Y.) called out former Democratic Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerPolls show big bounce to Biden ahead of Super Tuesday Sanders poised for big Super Tuesday Establishment Democrats rallying behind Biden 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 SandersWith VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Poll: Trump, Biden in dead heat in 2020 matchup Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers, state governors talk coronavirus, stimulus package and resources as pandemic rages on MORE (I-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenHillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike Democratic Senators urge FTC to prevent coronavirus price gouging Democratic senators call on FDA to drop restrictions on blood donations from men who have sex with men MORE (D-Mass.) and Boxer’s successor Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisWith VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Hillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike Democratic Senators urge FTC to prevent coronavirus price gouging MORE (D-Calif.) — have all backed the proposal and argued for more worker protections in the burgeoning gig economy.