Labor Relations, Regulation, Tech Company, Labor, Ballot Measure, Prop 22, California, United States, Rideshare


While the victory of Proposition 22 (Prop 22) in the November 3rd, 2020 California State election came as a shock to many observers, Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft, the architects and beneficiaries of the ballot measure, have a long track record of subverting regulatory attempts. From this historical perspective, the novelty of Prop 22 is not related to the means employed in its victory, but in the sheer scale of effort involved. In other words, Prop 22 represents an escalation of a familiar framework of regulatory subversion by the TNCs, whose success at the ballot box may turn the initiative campaign into something of a model for their contemporaries looking to skirt burdensome regulation or trim labor costs and benefits.

From this vantage, it is rather easy to draw any number of worthwhile lines of inquiry from Prop 22’s victory, but this paper will concern itself primarily with the implications of these proceedings on the future of labor relations in this country. It will strive to address these implications by beginning with an introductory section that will familiarize the reader with a framework for understanding the TNCs history of regulatory subversion. Then it will present a brief outline of the relevant case and legislative history that led the TNCs to pursue Prop 22 in California. From there, it will take a step back and discuss what Prop 22 does and, by extension, why it is so crucial for the TNC business model. It will then turn its attention to the pro-Prop 22 campaign and how it used in-app “clicktivism”, political contributions, misinformation, and superficial racial politics to mobilize the California electorate. Finally, the paper will close with a section dedicated to parsing the implications of Prop 22’s passage, especially as they relate to the future of labor relations in this country.

Publication Date

May 2021



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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.