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SAN DIEGO – California voters soon will decide the fate of Proposition 22, a ballot initiative which could exempt app-based drivers with companies such as Uber and Lyft from statewide labor laws by defining them as independent contractors.

Virtual rallies were held Monday both in support of and in opposition to Prop 22.

Supporters of the measure including the state’s Republican Party say Prop 22 protects “the freedom and flexibility of drivers,” essentially allowing them to work on their own schedules. Several major companies including Uber and DoorDash also back the measure.

In a recent blog post, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi argued that the economic effect of “forced employment” would be “crippling on both the national and state level.”

Opponents including Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher argue the measure is “an effort by billionaire corporations to simply exempt themselves from basic labor laws and protections like minimal wage and overtime.”

She is the author of California Assembly Bill 5, which requires many companies to classify their independent contractors as employees.

Gonzalez-Fletcher said many drivers are minorities who are being exposed to the coronavirus without work-sponsored health insurance.

“If they say they can’t pay their drivers minimum wage or provide health care, they want to leave taxpayers on the hook for subsidizing their workers and for the big hole they left in the unemployment insurance fund,” she said. “It’s time to say no more to corporate greed.”