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Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

A group of ride-hailing drivers and the Service Employees International Union have filed a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of Proposition 22, the ballot measure recently passed in California that enshrines drivers as independent contractors (with some benefits).

Why it matters: Prop. 22 was a response from gig companies to AB5, a state law that went into effect last January, and put in place stricter requirements for classifying workers as contractors. Having drivers as contractors instead of employees (with full benefits) is central to these companies' business models, prompting their aggressive action to eschew AB5.

  • The plaintiffs argue that Prop. 22 violates the state constitution by stripping the legislature from enabling workers to organize, and excluding ride-hail drivers from the state workers’ compensation program.

Go deeper: Deep dive on the gig economy

Go deeper

Unemployment filings explode again as pandemic slams job market

Volunteers distribute meals at a food bank in Pennsylvania last month. (Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

More than 1.4 million Americans filed for jobless claims last week — a figure that includes first-time filings for regular state unemployment and another program for non-traditional workers.

Why it matters: It’s another surge in the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits, an additional sign the labor market is facing more strain as the coronavirus continues to ravage the country.

34 mins ago - World

Army to award Purple Hearts to troops injured in Iran missile attack

Damage at Ain al-Asad military airbase housing U.S. and other foreign troops in the western Iraqi province of Anbar in January 2020. Photo: Ayman Henna/AFP via Getty Images

The Army has approved 39 more Purple Hearts for U.S. soldiers wounded in an Iranian military ballistic missile attack on an Iraq base in January 2020, the Army Times first reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: Most of these soldiers sustained brain injuries, per the Army Times. Then-President Trump dismissed their injuries at the time as "headaches" and "not very serious," sparking backlash from some veterans groups.

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.