New York — The National Limousine Association (NLA) and the Greater California Livery Association (GCLA) urge Governor Gavin Newsom of California to appropriately reclassify drivers in the ride-hailing industry as employees, acknowledging that they are not independent contractors, through the signing of Assembly Bill 5.
In an open letter below, on behalf of the membership and Board of the NLA and the GCLA, both organizations implore Governor Newsom to support drivers deserving of employee status:
Dear Governor Newsom,
Founded in 1985, The National Limousine Association (NLA) is an organization comprised of ground transportation providers on a global scale, committed to protecting the integrity of our industry. Similarly, the Greater California Livery Association (GCLA) is a statewide 501-c6 non-profit organization comprised of duly licensed member passenger ground transportation companies throughout the state of California. Together, we advocate for the private ground transportation industry by linking its leading professionals, from owners and operators to suppliers and manufacturers, to create a unified voice that ushers the industry upward.
Assembly Bill 5, authored by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, mandates that businesses prove the independent contractor status of a hire by passing the "ABC Test." At a glance, it appears unlikely that Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing organizations of the like would currently be able to pass the ABC Test, as the drivers do not meet the second qualification to permit independent contractor status: "The work that the repossession agency performs shall be outside the usual course of the hiring person or entity's business." Both a ride-hailing app entity and the driver are engaged in providing ground transportation services. An entity that provides a ride-hailing app is engaged in providing passenger transportation, not software – this is true just as it is true that a retailer that sells products online is still a retailer, not a software developer. Uber and Lyft have stated that they would prefer to continue classifying their drivers as independent contractors which would deprive drivers of overtime pay. Yet, taxi and private car services now widely provide ride-hailing apps that are indistinguishable in function from ride-hailing app entities like Uber and Lyft, and many continue to pay drivers as employees.
The implementation of new technology should not justify immunity from the laws and regulations that have been put into place to protect employee and labor rights. The drivers of these ride-hailing apps operate in a manner that – with very few exceptions – mirrors taxi and private "black car" services and interact with a large cross section of your populous in California. Therefore, it is only fair that the playing field be leveled, such that all operators and service providers within the industry are required to treat drivers equally without legislative exemption. Deciding not to move forward with Assembly Bill 5 would set a dangerous precedent for not only those in the private transportation business, but in other sectors of industry who will follow suit, misclassifying their employees as independent contractors.
We have been long committed to upholding best practices for all companies that employ drivers for private transportation. As our industry continues to evolve, it is critical that state and local governments enforce proactive legislation. Our organizations go to great lengths to ensure that our drivers receive the proper care, pay and benefits they deserve for their hard work. It is our belief that all ground transportation providers, including ride-hailing services, must perform under the same basic guidelines.
The NLA and GCLA will continue to stand by its operators' drivers and rightly views drivers as an essential component of our businesses and our communities. We respectfully ask that you move forward with Assembly Bill 5 and put into law what is just.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration,
Founder and President, Pure Luxury Transportation, Inc.
President, The National Limousine Association
Commissioner, Visit California
Secretary, California Travel Association
Board Member, San Francisco Travel
Board Member, Visit Napa Valley
Finance and Legal Committee, Sonoma County Tourism
Owner, Continental Limousine & Transportation
President, The Greater California Livery Association