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    From City Hall: 7.25.19

    $9.8 Million Increase in Income Assistance

    Mayor London Breed on July 18 announced that San Francisco’s budget for fiscal years 2019–2020 and 2020–2021 will provide $9.8 million over two years in additional income assistance for residents. The County Adult Assistance Programs (CAAP), administered by the San Francisco Human Services Agency, provide monthly cash assistance to approximately 4,700 low-income adults without dependent children, including those experiencing homelessness, adults with disabilities, and those who need help finding employment.

    In May, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing reported that at least 1,054 LGBTQ individuals in San Francisco lack reliable, secure housing. Overall, the data shows that homelessness in the city increased by 17%.

    “In a city as expensive as San Francisco, every dollar counts,” Mayor Breed said about the CAAP boost. “This increased cash assistance can make the difference between someone having enough to eat or going hungry. I’m glad that we’re able to increase this funding so that people can afford everyday things like food, toiletries and medications, while we also connect them with the services they need, like housing placements, education and jobs.”

    Assembly Bill Addressing Gig Work Problems Advances

    Rafael Mandelman

    With key support from Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, Assembly Bill 5 has advanced to California’s Senate Appropriations Committee. If approved, the law addressing “gig work”—flexible, often temp work, such as what fuels popular ride share companies—could go into effect at the beginning of next year.

    Supervisor Mandelman explained: “The recent and rapid success of the gig economy has had a profound effect on daily life in San Francisco over the past decade. Corporations like Uber and Lyft have become household names. An estimated 45,000 TNC (Transportation Network Company) drivers are on our roads, accounting for nearly half of the increase in congestion that continues to vex every car, bus and bike attempting to make its way across the city … . And a growing number of San Franciscans are working for gig corporations, with 2.9% of San Francisco families receiving income from an online platform.”

    He added that AB 5, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, would codify a 2018 California Supreme Court decision (regarding the courier service Dynamex) that re-sets the test for employment status to establish a rebuttable presumption that workers are employees for the purposes of wages, and expands on that holding to include all provisions of the Labor Code and Unemployment Insurance Code. As a result, the legislation, he said, poses a direct challenge to the gig business model that so many companies rely on.

    He pointed out that the salaries of Uber and Lyft CEOs alone have surpassed $40 million per year, and yet “the average Uber driver continues to earn the equivalent of just $9.21 per hour after fees, expenses, and the cost of a modest package of benefits.”

    Drivers seem to be divided on the issue, weighing employee-associated protections like overtime and disability pay with the flexibility of being an independent contractor. The issue continues to be discussed by the companies, lawmakers and labor leaders in hopes of finding a mutually agreed upon solution. Workers at the very least hope to have their voices fully heard and addressed during these negotiations.