Faulconer Wades Into Uber Fight

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Faulconer Wades Into Uber Fight

Mayor Kevin Faulconer joined with San Jose’s mayor Wednesday in a letter urging the state Court of Appeal to halt an earlier court order that would force Uber and Lyft to comply with AB 5, a state law limiting when companies can classify workers as independent contractors.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer speaks at a press conference. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

This post originally appeared in the August 20 Morning Report. Get the Morning Report delivered to your inbox.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer joined with San Jose’s mayor Wednesday in a letter urging the state Court of Appeal to halt an earlier court order that would force Uber and Lyft to comply with AB 5, a state law limiting when companies can classify workers as independent contractors.

Last week, a San Francisco judge ruled that the city attorneys arguing the rideshare companies were violating the law were likely to prevail – and ordered that Uber must stop classifying its drivers as independent contractors as the lawsuit plays out.

Faulconer and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo are asking the appellate court to suspend that order to prevent the companies from following through on their threats to pull out of California if forced to comply.

“A stay could provide an opportunity for parties to come together with state leaders to negotiate a resolution to this complex issue,” Faulconer and Liccardo wrote. But love it or hate it, coming together to create a solution on this complex issue is what state leaders already did in enacting AB 5.

Earlier this year, San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott secured a similar injunction against grocery delivery app Instacart, and that injunction was suspended in the same way Faulconer is seeking. In short: The lawsuit is ongoing, and Instacart gets to keep operating as usual in the meantime.

Faulconer’s letter pits him directly against two local Democratic politicians: Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who wrote the law, and City Attorney Mara Elliot, who was one of the prosecutors who filed the suit against Uber.

“What a shame, Mayor. You prefer to stand with billionaires over workers. Instead, let’s push these companies to employ their workers w/ their huge cash reserves, don’t you think? And provide (unemployment insurance),” Gonzalez wrote on Twitter.

In November, California voters will weigh in on Prop. 22, which would exempt rideshare companies from having to comply with AB 5.

Disclosure: Jesus Medrano, a senior software engineer at Uber, sits on Voice of San Diego’s board of directors.

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