An exemption for local delivery companies – including food delivery platforms and Amazon Flex drivers – from regulations generally used to regulate trucking companies in the state of Oklahoma has been signed into law.
The bill, the Oklahoma Courier Application Services Act, was proposed by Republican Sen. Micheal Bergstrom. It passed both chambers in Oklahoma and was signed by Gov. Kevin Still earlier this month. The law goes into effect Nov. 1.
“Delivery services like Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub and even Amazon Flex have exploded in popularity over the past year, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bergstrom said. “This measure ensures these delivery companies can safely operate in our state without overregulation, but with consumer protections as well. It’s a win-win for Oklahomans and these companies who provide an in-demand service in the digital age. This ensures that Oklahomans will have these types of opportunities to supplement their income.”
Currently, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission has oversight over delivery and trucking services of all sizes. The bill will remove that for any operation that conducts its business in vehicles under 8,000 pounds and have a maximum of two axles, classifying those vehicles as “light property carrier vehicles.”
These companies will have to have a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy for drivers and those drivers must provide a valid driver’s license and proof of vehicle registration and meet minimum age requirements.
Rep. Avery Frix served as the House author for the bill and said in a statement that the need for the bill will clarify courier services.
“There are ever-expanding options for delivery of products from food to gifts and household items – and really everything in between,” Frix said. “This law just helps us put some regulation around the growth of courier services. I’m thankful to see it signed into law.”
The status of gig workers who work predominantly for rideshare and delivery companies has been a hotly contested issue around the world. The Supreme Court in the U.K. recently ruled they were entitled to certain minimums associated with employees, including minimum pay levels.
In the U.S., California has been the epicenter of the battle, but new fronts are starting to open. In Texas, the Coalition for Workforce Innovation has joined a lawsuit brought by the Associated Builders and Contractors of Southeast Texas and the Associated Builders and Contractors against the Department of Labor to prevent the Biden administration from delaying implementation of the Independent Contractor Status Under the Fair Labor Standards Act final rule issued by the Trump administration.
A lawsuit in New York against rideshare companies Via Transportation and its black car-owned Flatiron Transit (collectively Via) is ongoing. The suit alleges that Via has refused to submit to arbitration with plaintiffs. It also claims that Via misclassified drivers as independent contractors instead of employees and misrepresented the income the drivers could make by “omitting the exorbitant commissions drivers have to pay Via and the exorbitant costs drivers have to pay on their own simply to drive for Via.”
Read: Lawsuit seeks to preserve employment freedom for independent workers
Read: Labor secretary statement on independent contractors a preview of policy shifts
The court battle is not the only front on which CWI is fighting. The group counts a cross section of businesses and organizations among its members, including the Associated Builders and Contractors, the American Trucking Associations, America’s Newspapers, Amway, Customized Logistics and Delivery Association, Direct Selling Association, Kelly Services, Lyft, National Home Delivery Association, Postmates and Uber, and it is pushing back against the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act).
The House passed the PRO Act on March 9 by a vote of 225-206. The legislation, which is expected to have trouble garnering the necessary 60 votes to pass in the Senate, would codify California’s ABC test for defining independent workers. The law would impact everybody from independent truck drivers to Uber drivers. In California, the ABC test affects the status of all independent contractors, except those who have a carve-out either through legislation or through the Prop 22 vote on Election Day that exempted delivery drivers from companies such as Uber and Postmates.
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