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Technology Uber, Lyft's ballot measure campaign gets nonprofit status for mailers, opponents cry foul

07:10  22 october  2020
07:10  22 october  2020 Source:   cnet.com

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Opponents of Proposition 22, a ballot measure sponsored by Uber , Lyft and other gig economy companies in California, have filed a A spokesman for the Yes campaign said it' s been granted nonprofit status by the IRS and that it' s common practice for campaign committees working on

Uber , Lyft and DoorDash have each chipped in million to support the initiative, known as the "Protect App-Based Drivers and Services Act." To officially get on the ballot , the initiative needed to gather 623,000 signatures. A spokeswoman for the initiative announced Thursday that it hit 1 million

Opponents of Proposition 22, a ballot measure sponsored by Uber, Lyft and other gig economy companies in California, have filed a complaint with the United States Postal Service against the campaign for using nonprofit status to send out political mailers. They estimate the Yes on Proposition 22 campaign has saved at least $1.5 million by using the nonprofit postage rate for mailings, rather than using the normal bulk rate.

a close up of a sign: Uber and Lyft have poured millions of dollars into their ballot measure campaign in California to keep drivers classified as independent contractors. Angela Lang/CNET © Provided by CNET Uber and Lyft have poured millions of dollars into their ballot measure campaign in California to keep drivers classified as independent contractors. Angela Lang/CNET calendar © Angela Lang/CNET

A spokesman for the Yes campaign said it's been granted nonprofit status by the IRS and USPS and that it's common practice for campaign committees working on ballot measures to form themselves as nonprofits.

Uber's national push over gig worker status has been underway for months

  Uber's national push over gig worker status has been underway for months Even before its Proposition 22 win in California, Uber had been emailing drivers in other states asking them to support a plan that could keep them classified as independent contractors. The company has also hired a record number of federal lobbyists and created an information portal for drivers titled "Together, we can reinvent independent work." "The big platform companies may have won in California, but the gig worker fight has only just begun.

Uber And Lyft ' s Ballot Measure Has MANY LOOPHOLES! Time Stamps 0:00 Intro 1:11 Recap Of Ballot Measure Approval And Uber 's Report Of Firing Drivers If

Uber and Lyft were among a group of tech companies that have previously opposed the bill, arguing their workers enjoy the flexibility of creating their Uber and Lyft sought to delay the ruling until there was a ruling on Uber ' s constitutional challenge of AB5 or until voters weighed in on a ballot measure

"Yes on 22 is eligible for the appropriate nonprofit postage rates with the USPS, which we applied for and were granted by the US Postmaster," a Yes campaign spokesman said in an email. "The USPS has a long-term policy in place of allowing the ballot measure committee of a duly authorized nonprofit to mail under the nonprofit's authorization."

The complaint comes during a heated battle over Proposition 22, which is sponsored by Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart and Postmates and aims to exempt the companies from classifying their workers as employees. The five companies have contributed nearly $200 million to the ballot measure campaign, making it the most expensive in California history.

Opponents to the ballot measure say that with such large sums of money being spent, the gig economy companies shouldn't be getting a discount on USPS postage.

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Uber and Lyft are planning to give some long-term drivers money to buy stock, granting them access to the hotly anticipated IPOs. “ Uber is getting ready for their IPO, they want to look really good for their investors, and are creating situations where people may be put on the street homeless because they

Uber and Lyft drivers seeking to form unions hailed a new California law requiring gig economy workers to be classified as employees as a crucial victory. “They're creating a third category of workers who won't get the basic labor protections of employment.”

"It's outrageous but not surprising that the app companies that are going to the mat to keep shortchanging workers would shamelessly rip off the postal service," Mike Roth, campaign spokesperson for the No on Proposition 22 campaign, said in a statement. "This is just more evidence of the kind of greed we are dealing with from these companies."

In the complaint letter to the USPS, a lawyer for the No on Proposition 22 campaign alleged the Yes campaign was "unlawfully" issued a nonprofit permit. Under federal law, nonprofit permits are granted to "qualified political committees," but the No campaign alleges that doesn't apply to the Yes campaign since it's not a committee of a political party.

Deep dive: Inside Uber and Lyft's fight over gig worker status

"Yes on 22 is a registered California political committee, but it is not a political party committee," reads the complaint. "Because large amounts of mail are being sent out daily in violation of the Federal Statue, we request that you act immediately to revoke this permit."

Mailers for other ballot measure campaigns in California, such as Proposition 15 and Proposition 23, have been using standard bulk rate postage.

The USPS didn't immediately return a request for comment.

Uber, Lyft and Postmates didn't return requests for comment. DoorDash and Instacart referred CNET to the Yes on Proposition 22 campaign.

Ride-hailing, delivery giants win fight against labor law .
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — App-based companies like Uber, Lyft and Doordash have dodged a potentially devastating blow to their industry by carving out an exemption for themselves from a California law that required them to classify their drivers as employees instead of contractors. California voters passed Proposition 22, winning 58% of more than 11 million voters and delivering a stinging rebuke to state lawmakers and labor leaders who were fighting for better working conditions for a growing number of people who drive for ride-hailing and food delivery services in the nation's most populous state.

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