Assembly Bill 5 protest
Protesters in National City attacked Assembly Bill 5, authored by Lorena Gonzalez. A measure challenging AB 5 as it applies to rideshare and delivery services qualified for the general election Friday. Courtesy OnScene.TV

The ballot initiative challenging attempts to curb the gig economy qualified for the Nov. 3 general election Friday, according to Secretary of State Alex Padilla.

In order to become eligible for the ballot, the initiative needed 623,212 valid petition signatures. That’s equal to 5% of the total votes cast for governor in the November 2018 general election.

A measure may qualify via a random sampling of petition signatures.

That occurs if the sampling projects that the number of valid signatures is greater than 110 percent of what’s required. On that basis, the initiative needed at least 685,534 valid signatures. 

The gig economy initiative exceeded the threshold, Padilla’s office said late Friday, on the eve of the holiday weekend.

Uber, Lyft and Door Dash back the Protect App-Based Drivers and Services campaign. The measure asks voters to weigh in on improved earning guarantees and benefits for ride-share and delivery drivers. For instance, companies would be required to pay workers more than minimum wage, boosted by 30 cents per mile.

The measure also calls for contributions for healthcare care coverage for those who average 15 hours a week on the job, and occupational insurance plans.

The coalition formed in response to the passage of Assembly Bill 5, championed by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego

AB 5, which became law on Jan. 1, curbs businesses’ use of contract workers. It also requires many of them to be treated as salaried employees.

Labor groups and others who supported AB 5 contend that the law helps low-wage workers. A number of different industry groups and freelance employees, however, argue that confusion over how to apply the law led to losses in work and opportunities. Some took their challenges to court.

On a Tuesday conference call, those behind the November initiative plan to address the measure. They also announced the launch of a statewide television and digital education campaign to attract support.

Students, parents and other Californians featured in the ads discuss the importance of app-based work in their lives and those of the 1 million Californians in that portion of the gig economy.

They also denounce efforts by politicians like Gonzalez. They point in particular to possible job losses in the middle of the economic crisis prompted by the coronavirus.

The Secretary of State has until June 25 to certify the initiative for the Nov. 3 ballot.

– Staff reports

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