Uber, Lyft agree to take California labor win nationwide

Uber and Lyft are celebrating a major ballot measure victory in California, and they’re looking to notch similar wins nationwide that could formalize labor classifications for gig workers.

Passage of Proposition 22 in California effectively exempts gig companies from a state law aimed at providing gig workers with the same kind of benefits for employees: minimum wage, health care and the right to organize.

Top executives at Uber and Lyft are signaling a desire to replicate those exemptions in other states.

“Going forward, you will see us more loudly advocate for new laws like Prop 22, which we believe strike the balance between preserving the flexibility that drivers value so much, while adding protections that all gig workers deserve,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said during an investor call Thursday.

“We want to have a dialogue with governments [in] other states,” he added.

Anthony Foxx, secretary of Transportation in the Obama administration who’s now chief policy officer at Lyft, expressed a similar desire to export the ballot measure.

“Ideally, now that this issue has been resolved in California we can have a broader conversation about how to replicate something like Prop 22,” he said Wednesday in an interview with The Hill.

The ballot measure was a last ditch effort by gig companies — DoorDash, Postmates, Instacart and the ridesharing giants — to avoid having to classify their drivers as employees and subsequently extend worker benefits.

The companies spent more than $200 million in support of Proposition 22 and won with 58 percent of voters backing the measure.

The ballot measure was a response to a state law that sets standards for when workers can be considered independent contractors, the classification preferred by Uber and Lyft for their drivers.