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Rights for Gig Workers Are a Political Issue Now, But Many of Them Can’t Vote

Drivers and couriers are far more likely to be non-citizens, meaning they won’t get a say in the brewing political fights over their jobs.

Tonje Ettevo, a driver for both Uber and Lyft in California, opposed Proposition 22.

Tonje Ettevo, a driver for both Uber and Lyft in California, opposed Proposition 22.

Photographer: Ariana Drehsler/Bloomberg

This November, gig economy companies won a resounding victory on the California ballot. Voters overwhelmingly agreed to allow them to keep their workers as contractors, not employees. Now, those companies want to export that framework to the rest of the country.

Executives at Uber Technolgies Inc., Lyft Inc. and DoorDash Inc. have all called California’s decision a blueprint for future fights, as states around the country scrutinize the future of gig worker rights. The companies have even created a new national advocacy group to shape political discussions. That means voters and elected legislators could be increasingly called on to determine the employment rights of their Uber drivers and DoorDash couriers.