Media Advisory: Co-Director of Open Letter to Suspend AB5 Reacts to Lawsuits against Uber and Lyft Over Unfair Law AB5: News Releases: The Independent Institute

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News Release
May 6, 2020

Media Advisory: Co-Director of Open Letter to Suspend AB5 Reacts to Lawsuits against Uber and Lyft Over Unfair Law AB5

Oakland, CA—The state of California and the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco have sued Uber and Lyft for ignoring Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) for classifying drivers as independent contractors, rather than employees. It's the latest round in the state's battle against freelance, independent or "gig" workers and small businesses that rely on them.

The Independent Institute's recent Open Letter to Suspend California AB5 that is addressed to Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California State Legislature asks for the suspension of AB5 to allow workers to choose where and when they work, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. The letter is signed by 153 economists and political scientists from 40 colleges, universities and think tanks in California.

Independent Institute Sr. Fellow Williamson Evers, Ph.D., Co-Director of the Open Letter, says, "The middle of the COVID-19 crisis is not the time to be wrecking the lives of millions of independent contractors in a way that further depresses the economy. These lawsuits will have the effect of hurting gig workers who are delivering to the home-bound, providing contracted nursing care, and supplying many other essential services."

Dr. Evers adds, "Other gig workers who offer this form of low-cost transportation are hurting for customers during the pandemic. Going after high-tech platforms for working with willing contractors hurts, not helps, our emergency situation."

Former Vice President Joe Biden has endorsed AB5, and states across the country are interested in adopting job-killing AB5-type measures.

To interview Dr. Williamson Evers, contact Robert Ade [email protected], or (510) 635-3690.

100 Swan Way, Oakland, CA 94621-1428

The Independent Institute is a non-profit research and educational organization that promotes the power of independent thinking to boldly advance peaceful, prosperous, and free societies grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity. For more information, visit

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