On December 13, 2022 a panel of justices of the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco heard arguments in Castellanos v. State of California in the appeal of a 2021 Alameda Superior Court decision that declared Proposition 22 was unconstitutional. Olson Remcho is co-counsel for the SEIU and other plaintiffs in this case.
According to a December 12 article in Bloomberg Law, “The next battle in the long-running California war over who’s an employee and who’s an independent contractor will take place in a San Francisco courtroom with arguments on the constitutionality of a voter-approved, court-suspended initiative carving out gig workers from the state’s worker-friendly classification law. Uber Technologies Inc., Lyft Inc., DoorDash, and Instacart Inc. bankrolled the inititiave known as Proposition 22, spending more than $200 million to get it passed in November 2020.” A ruling from the court is expected in 90 days with an appeal to the the California Supreme Court likely to follow.
In a major victory for California app-based drivers, rideshare consumers and labor unions in August 2021, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch ruled that Proposition 22, which exempted companies like Uber, Lyft and Doordash from treating drivers as employees, was unconstitutional. According to Judge Roesch’s ruling, Proposition 22 unconstitutionally “limits the power of a future legislature to define app-based drivers as workers subject to workers’ compensation law.” He concludes his order by stating “A prohibition on legislation authorizing collective bargaining by app-based drivers does not promote the right to work as an independent contractor, nor does it protect work flexibility, nor does it provide minimum workplace safety and pay standards for those workers. It appears only to protect the economic interests of the network companies in having a divided, unionized workforce, which is not a stated goal of the legislation.” (See California Judge Rules that Proposition 22 is Unconstitutional.)
Selected media coverage:
Justice’s Quiz Prop 22 Defenders on Reach of Worker Classification Law, The Recorder, December 13, 2022.
Gig Workers, Prop. 22 Backers Resume War Over Initiative’s Fate, Bloomberg Law, December 12, 2022.