Uber and Lyft Drivers in California Will Remain Independent

California voters carried Uber and Lyft to victory, overwhelmingly approving Proposition 22, a ballot measure that allows gig economy companies to continue treating drivers as independent contractors.

Uber, Lyft and the delivery service DoorDash designed the measure to exempt the companies from a state labor law that would have forced them to employ drivers and pay for health care, unemployment insurance and other benefits.

The vote resolves the fiercest regulatory battle Uber and Lyft have faced and opens a path for the companies to remake labor laws throughout the country.

While Uber initially attempted to mimic black car services, it quickly joined Lyft in promoting the idea that drivers were drawn to the apps by the novelty of gig work rather than the promise of traditional employment.

The California Public Utilities Commission stepped in, setting baseline safety requirements but allowing Uber and Lyft to avoid hiring drivers.

Drivers and other gig workers urging voters to reject California’s Proposition 22 outside of Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco last month.Credit...Jim Wilson/The New York Times

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