Rideshare drivers from throughout the region came to Mill Creek Park on Wednesday as part of a caravan protest against Proposition 22, the November ballot initiative that, if passed, would exempt drivers from work benefits they believe they’re entitled to.
About 80 drivers filled the Mill Creek parking lot in downtown Bakersfield around 1 p.m. with stickers on their cars reading “Say No to 22,” “Stop Uber and Lyft Greed” and “Uber Initiative Hurts Drivers.”
Proposition 22 would classify rideshare drivers as independent contractors. It's the most expensive state ballot measure in modern history, backed by nearly $200 million in funding from Uber, Lyft, the food delivery app DoorDash and other tech companies that say the proposition is in the best interest of the drivers.
Those in attendance said they're against the ballot initiative, however, as it would exempt them from benefits such as minimum wage, sick leave, workers compensation, affordable health care and many others.
“If this passes, the CEOs of Uber and Lyft will still be making the big bucks,” said Wilson Munoz, 44. “We’re trying to bring awareness to the voters. That these guys are working hard and trying to support their families too.”
The caravan began with about 15 to 20 cars in San Diego on Wednesday morning and made its way through Los Angeles. The group began dispersing out of Mill Creek Park between 2 and 3 p.m. and headed to Fresno. The plan was to finish their display on Thursday in San Francisco.
The caravan has been adding drivers as it moves through the state, and those involved at Mill Creek said they hoped to have well over 100 demonstrators by the time things wrap up Thursday.
“We’re trying to do what we can to show the voices of real workers,” said 30-year-old Kyle Gregory. “We’re trying to show that actual drivers care so much about this issue that we’re willing to take two days off of work and head straight to Market Street in San Francisco and bring our voices to Uber and Lyft. And tell voters to vote no on 22.”