Lorena Gonzalez speaks at rally
Lorena Gonzalez speaks at the rally on Thursday. Image from her Twitter feed

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez rallied support for her Assembly Bill 5 in San Diego on Thursday while the ridesharing company Lyft predicted 300,000 drivers in California would lose their jobs if it passes.

Gonzalez gathered with representatives of Rideshare Drivers United in Southern California, the United Taxi Workers Alliance, the Employee Rights Center and the Sierra Club at the morning rally outside the County Administration Building.

She called for passage of the bill “without a carve-out for gig companies” that would allow them to continue using contract workers.

“We need to ensure all workers have complete protection of workplace rights, not compromise one for the other. Yes, gig workers need the right to organize. But they first desperately need the full rights and protections under state labor law,” she said.

Her bill would codify worker classifications established in a state Supreme Court decision in 2018 that concluded truck drivers at the Dynamex company were employees, not independent contractors. If passed, the bill would require companies to reclassify an estimated 2 million California workers like ridesharing drivers, software developers and franchise business operators as employees rather than independent contractors.

Meanwhile, in Sacramento, Lyft released a report from Beacon Economics that estimated 300,673 California Lyft drivers would lose their jobs under a worst-case scenario in which the ridesharing company’s costs go up 20 percent and all drivers must become employees working 40-hour weeks.

Other scenarios, with no or low increase in cost and 10-hour weeks, would force Lyft to lay off around 220,000 workers, according to the Los Angeles-based economics consulting firm’s report.

The controversial bill passed the Assembly in May and currently sits in the state Senate as companies attempt to carve out exemptions for specific industries. The bill has also drawn national attention due to support from Democratic presidential candidates and  Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont and Kamala Harris.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.