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California court rejects suit challenging California's new rules for gig workers

California court rejects suit challenging California's new rules for gig workers
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California’s Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit on Wednesday brought by a group of ride-hailing app drivers and labor unions looking to overturn California’s ballot measure that gives drivers for the app-based companies status as independent contractors, making them ineligible for benefits.

The drivers and unions argued the ballot measure, Proposition 22, was unconstitutional and put illegal constraints on the ability of state lawmakers to empower drivers to organize. 

The case can still be filed in a lower court, and one of the drivers who brought the case said the group plans to keep pushing forward in their battle to overturn the controversial ballot measure. 

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“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,” plaintiff 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.”

The drivers who filed the lawsuit were supported by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the SEIU’s California State Council. 

Jim Pyatt, an Uber driver who worked with the Yes on 22 campaign backing the ballot measure, said the group is “thankful but not surprised” over the court’s decision to reject the “meritless lawsuit.”

“We’re hopeful this will send a strong signal to special interests to stop trying to undermine the will of voters,” Pyatt said in a statement, according to The Associated Press

Gig companies, such as Uber and Lyft, spent more than $200 million in a campaign backing the ballot measure voters approved in November. 

Proposition 22 took effect in mid-December. It exempts companies like Uber and Lyft from Assembly Bill 5, California's law that establishes a test for determining worker classification and leaves gig workers unable to receive basic work protection, including minimum wage, health care access and a right to organize.