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Uber and Lyft logos in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are prepared to spend a collective $90 million on a ballot measure, vowing on Thursday to fight a California bill that would force their workers in the state to be treated as employees, rather than independent contractors, the AP reports.

What's happening: The companies are offering $30 million each to counter the state bill with a yet-to-be drafted ballot initiative that would give drivers health benefits, collective bargaining rights and earnings guarantees. Per the New York Times, the tech firms argue that "changing the legal status of their drivers poses a fundamental threat to their businesses."

Details: Uber is offering approximately $21 per hour as minimum wage to its drivers, a "portable benefits fund," and a process where drivers could have "legally recognized influence over decisions that impact their work" through "their own democratic process."

What's next ... As the AP notes, “We will meet the gig companies’ absurd political spending with a vigorous worker-led campaign to defeat this measure to ensure working people have the basic job protections and the right to organize a union they deserve under the law,” according to Steve Smith, spokesman for the California Labor Federation, which sponsored the bill.

  • The companies, trying to strike a bargain before the bill comes to a vote in September, would ditch their ballot plan if they could come up with a compromise with Gov. Gavin Newsom and the unions on a bill that provides unique requirements for those who work “gig” jobs.

Go deeper: A California bill could upend the gig economy

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
1 hour ago - Health

Why we need to know COVID's origins

The WHO's headquarters in Geneva. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Geopolitical tensions are foiling efforts to get to the bottom of how COVID-19 originated.

Why it matters: Insights into how COVID-19 began can help us prevent future pandemics — especially if it involved any kind of leak or accident at a virology lab.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate pulls all-nighter on amendments to COVID relief package

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democratic leaders struck an agreement with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) on emergency unemployment insurance late Friday, clearing the way for Senate action on President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package to resume after an hours-long delay.

The state of play: The Senate continued to work through votes on a marathon of amendments overnight into Saturday morning.