A Terrible Deal for Workers: Terri Gerstein Warns Other States Following California’s Approval of Proposition 22

Terri Gerstein (’95), Director of the State and Local Enforcement Project at the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program, contributed an opinion to The New York Times regarding California’s approval of Proposition 22, a ballot initiative exempting gig companies from state workplace laws while stripping workers of basic, essential protections (“What Happened in California Is a Cautionary Tale for Us All,” Nov. 13). “Allowing companies to write their own exemption from California law is also a cautionary tale for our fragile democracy. Now, workers for these gig companies in California will not have a right, as employees do under state law, to paid sick days, overtime pay, unemployment insurance or a workplace covered by occupational safety and health laws. How did these companies persuade California voters to approve this snatching of rights from thousands of vulnerable people? They used a deluge of money to convince voters that the proposal served workers’ interests.”