Major ‘Milestone’ for Workers as California Judge Rules Uber and Lyft Must Classify Drivers as Employees

In a move that local political leaders and labor rights advocates celebrated as a major win for gig workers, a California judge ruled Monday that the ride-hailing companies Lyft and Uber must classify drivers in the state as employees rather than independent contractors to comply with state law.

“The years-long ploy of these behemoth corporations to stall, obfuscate, and flat-out break the law has failed. There must be no more delays.”
—Art Pulaski, California Labor Federation

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman’s decision came in a case filed gainst Lyft and Uber in May by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the city attorneys of Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, who accused the companies of violating Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5), which Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed last year.

“The court has weighed in and agreed: Uber and Lyft need to put a stop to unlawful misclassification of their drivers while our litigation continues,” Becerra said in a statement responding to Schulman’s preliminary injunction, which is stayed for 10 days to allow for legal appeals.

“While this fight still has a long way to go, we’re pushing ahead to make sure the people of California get the workplace protections they deserve,” Becerra added. “Our state and workers shouldn’t have to foot the bill when big businesses try to skip out on their responsibilities. We’re going to keep working to make sure Uber and Lyft play by the rules.”


Board Member Spotlight – Darlene Sanchez

photo Darlene Sanchez
Darlene Sanchez

The VWDB would like to extend its congratulations to board member Darlene Sanchez, who, after years of dedicated service to the City of Glendale, has accepted a new position at a nearby municipality.

In her role at the City of Glendale’s Community Development Department, Darlene oversaw projects serving the City’s business community; more recently, this included creating the City of Glendale’s Business Recovery Strategy, as well as its Personal Protective Equipment Grant program, both of which are providing critical assistance to Glendale’s pandemic-impacted businesses at this time.

In previous years, as a result of Darlene’s efforts, Glendale has enhanced its arts and entertainment district, attracted vibrant restaurants and new hotels, and established an interconnected technology and innovation sector.

Over the 4 years that Darlene served as a VWDB board member, she consistently contributed her invaluable experience and insight to the VWDB’s discussions shaping workforce policy.

The VWDB would like to acknowledge Darlene’s service to the board, thank her for her contributions, and wish her the very best in her new position!

August 2020 Message From the Director, Judith Velasco

I hope that you continue to move forward in health, and have found opportunities to enjoy some summertime rest and relaxation with your families during these times. The pandemic continues to influence how we go about our daily lives, and, after almost 6 months, it seems we have been doing our best to adjust to the new demands that social distancing and other health precautions have placed upon us.

With COVID cases still fluctuating, we continue to watch the job market closely for impacts and opportunities to help our communities. Though there is evidence to support the idea that someday, things will return to the way we have always known them to be, we are coming to accept that the workforce system will see some permanent changes.

We expect to embed our new, virtual mode of providing services into our daily operations on a long-term basis. Yet we are aware that in doing so, we must also take into account the technological limitations of the individuals who come to us for career services. Some may not have WiFi or access to hot spots, and others simply do not have the technological equipment, like laptops, that would enable them to access our services or work remotely at jobs they are placed at.

This will not stop us from making sure that we explore all options available to address this critical barrier to accessing workforce services virtually. We will continue to look to you, our board members, to provide us with your input on how we can address this growing need.

The month of August has also brought with it confirmation that most local school districts, in addition to many universities, will begin the school year with all students participating in distance learning. We are aware that this may impact the ability of adults with children to work full-time, and we will look to understand the full extent of this impact through the lens of the services we offer.

We continue to receive COVID-19 program guidelines and attend online trainings relating to workplace safety from our funding sources. We are communicating these to our vendors to ensure that our participants’ worksites remain compliant and safe. We also continue to enroll participants in our emergency assistance grants as well as our formula allocation. I look forward to sharing details at our upcoming board meeting.

I’d like to thank you for your continued commitment to supporting our region’s workforce through these unprecedented times.

Best, Judith Velasco, Executive Director


Companies Start to Think Remote Work Isn’t So Great After All

Projects take longer. Collaboration is harder. And training new workers is a struggle. ‘This is not going to be sustainable.’

Four months ago, employees at many U.S. companies went home and did something incredible: They got their work done, seemingly without missing a beat. Executives were amazed at how well their workers performed remotely, even while juggling child care and the distractions of home. Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc., among others, quickly said they would embrace remote work . . . . Read full article here at WSJ

3 Mistakes Businesses Make During a Crisis

No business is immune to a crisis, but some recover better than others by avoiding these business mistakes.

Throughout the course of any technology business–from start-ups to established businesses–periodically, crisis hits. These crises could be related to finances, a key employee leaving, industry changes, and so on. There are three mistakes that most often affect a company’s ability to cope with and recover from a crisis.

Mistake #1 – Dissemination of Information

When things go south, there are often two information-related mistakes management makes. First, they ignore sharing information with employees, which churns the rumor mill. In many cases, the rumors that come about are far worse than reality and can lead to poor decision-making further down in the business structure. It is incredibly important to share information as quickly as possible, even if that is simply to state that you have no further information.

Second, when management does decide to tell employees what is going on, they often do not have a . . . . click here for full story

Important Updates from LA County Economic Development Corporation

LA Covid-19 Community Connectory

Due to COVID-19, employers and workers in our region are facing challenges of epic proportions.

During these unprecedented times, the LAEDC has established this LA Covid-19 Community Connectory which seeks to provide crucial resources for vulnerable residents, small businesses, and nonprofits. The Community Connectory:

  • Engages LAEDC’s award-winning staff of business assistance and layoff avoidance professionals to directly help employers overcome challenges, retain staff and position for economic recovery.
  • Spotlights a growing array of financial resources that directly support individuals, as well as programs to help businesses and community-based organizations.
  • Provides frequent analysis and economic outlooks from LAEDC’s Institute for Applied Economics to help all people in our region plan for economic recovery.

All the services of LA Community Connectory are provided at no charge, in keeping with LAEDC’s public-benefit mission, and true to our history of helping save over 240,000 direct jobs in LA County over the past 20 years.

Click here to go to site for more information and to register for services

City of Glendale’s Tech – July 21, 2020 at 4PM – Zoom Webinar

Glendale Tech on Tap

The City of Glendale’s Tech on Tap event, “Virtually Meet & Greet our New Tech Accelerators,”  is July 21. This is the City’s fourth virtual Tech on Tap event and will feature speakers from Glendale’s two new Tech Accelerator Operators — Omkar Kulkarni from KidsX Health Accelerator and Hambarzum Kaghketsyan from HeroHouse Glendale Gateway Program, for a *virtual* afternoon Meet & Greet! The Meet & Greet will be followed by a Q&A session, where all participants are encouraged to participate to learn more about these two operators.

Register here