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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.

35 mins ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Podcasts

Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Collective.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).