Ocasio-Cortez clashes with former Dem senator over gig worker bill

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) called out former Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer (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.

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.