How California Propositions Could Affect the Food Industry

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This year’s elections feature old and new issues that are breaking spending records. It’s fair to say that each candidate and measure this election will affect the food world at individual and industry levels. 

Some statewide propositions in particular, like Proposition 22, California’s costliest ballot campaign to date at nearly $190 million dollars spent, explicitly affect the food industry. If it passes, Proposition 22 would exempt companies from classifying their labor force including delivery drivers and grocery shoppers as employees and instead leave them as contractors.

The proposition is created in response to last year’s Assembly Bill 5, which along with the California Supreme Court’s “Dynamex” decision, makes it difficult for companies to classify workers as contractors. The debate of classifying “gig-workers” as contractors or employees has taken a new urgency since the onset of the pandemic where protections because it impacts benefits like paid sick leave and company-provided health insurance for newly labelled frontline workers. The results of Proposition 22 will have a tremendous impact on a growing workforce of gig workers across food and other sectors, especially as food delivery continues to surge. 

Another statewide measure that will disproportionately affect food industry workers is Proposition 21 which would allow cities to enact rent control laws on properties that are more than 15 years old. Currently, under the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, cities are not allowed to create rent control laws on units constructed after 1995. According to the Terner Center for Housing Innovation,  a majority of California rental households tend to hold service jobs including the food industry, which has experienced tremendous job losses since March.

For more information on local and statewide elections, check out KQED’s voter guide in Spanish and in English

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