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Today’s News & Commentary—September 8, 2021

Today’s News & Commentary—September 8, 2021

As the corporate-funded effort to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom heads into its final stretch (the election date, September 14, is now less than one week away), CNN reports that Newsom has increasingly relied on labor unions and union workers to propel his campaign in its waning days. Local chapters of CTA, SEIU, AFSCME, IBEW, […]

Today’s News and Commentary — Friday, September 3, 2021

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Today’s News and Commentary — Friday, September 3, 2021

A new piece by Vice details how the Teamsters Union has thwarted Amazon’s expansion efforts nationwide despite recent failures by the movement to unionize the Bessemer, Alabama Amazon warehouse earlier this year. The wins – such as getting Fort Wayne, Indiana to shoot down a $7.3 million tax break for Amazon – expose the Teamsters’ […]

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Today’s News & Commentary—September 2, 2021

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Today’s News & Commentary—September 2, 2021

Yesterday, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy announced that rideshare companies could move forward with their proposed state ballot measure to exempt their drivers from employment law protections.  The proposal, modeled closely on California’s Proposition 22, was one of 17 out of 30 proposed ballot initiatives certified by the Attorney General as having met baseline state […]

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Today’s News & Commentary—August 30, 2021

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Today’s News & Commentary—August 30, 2021

State legislatures are playing an outsized role in American politics, the New York Times reports. While Republicans are out of power in Washington by a slim margin, they control 30 state legislatures, 26 of which will redraw congressional districts (compared to thirteen for Democrats). But these legislatures don’t have to wait for redistricting to drive […]

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‘I don’t like being treated like crap’: gig workers aim to retool a system they say is rigged

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Gig economy ‘I don’t like being treated like crap’: gig workers aim to retool a system they say is rigged Uber, Lyft and other companies fighting Massachusetts lawsuit that would grant workers status as employees Michael Sainato Fri 27 Aug 2021 05.00 EDT Last modified on Fri 27 Aug 2021 05.01 EDT Felipe Martinez began […]

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Weekend News & Commentary — August 22, 2021

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Weekend News & Commentary — August 22, 2021

On Friday, a California Superior Court judge – the state’s trial court system – held that Prop. 22, which, among other provisions, permitted gig companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart, and others to classify their workers as independent contractors rather than employees, enabling them to evade a host of labor and employment laws, is unconstitutional […]

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Today’s News & Commentary — August 5, 2021

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Today’s News & Commentary — August 5, 2021

Ongoing revelations surrounding New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s serial sexual misconduct while in office have lost the governor the support of organized labor.  Since Tuesday, a host of labor groups—including the Hotel Trades Council, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), the Retail, Warehouse, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), […]

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Heavy spending on driver incentives pushes Uber to bigger-than-forecast loss

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Uber Heavy spending on driver incentives pushes Uber to bigger-than-forecast loss Revenues double as demand for rides increases, but ride-hailing company has to spend more Kari Paul Thu 5 Aug 2021 06.53 EDT First published on Wed 4 Aug 2021 17.18 EDT Heavy spending to encourage drivers back to the road has pushed ride-hailing firm […]

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Today’s News & Commentary – July 22, 2021

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Today’s News & Commentary – July 22, 2021

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate voted 51-50 to confirm Jennifer Abruzzo as General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the deciding vote.  Abruzzo’s confirmation, preceded Tuesday by an equally divided, party-line vote to end Senate debate on the nominee, marks an end to a bitterly partisan Senate debate […]

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Uber and Lyft drivers join day-long strike over working conditions

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UberUber and Lyft drivers join day-long strike over working conditionsWorkers for app companies call for better wages and protections for those seeking to unionize Kari Paul in San FranciscoWed 21 Jul 2021 19.34 EDTFirst published on Wed 21 Jul 2021 06.00 EDTHundreds of Uber and Lyft drivers have joined other app-based workers across the US for a day-long strike to protest against poor working conditions and demand the right to organize.Sign up to Alex Hern’s weekly technology newsletter, TechScape.The workers are calling for better wages and congressional support of the Pro Act, a bill that would provide protections for workers who attempt to unionize, including members of the gig economy. The bill has stalled indefinitely after passing in the US House in March.Uber and Lyft fares surge as pandemic recedes – but drivers don’t get ‘piece of pie’Read more“App-based workers are fed up with exploitation from big tech companies,” said Eve Aruguete a driver from Oakland and member of organizing group Rideshare Drivers United. “Misclassification is like concrete, keeping us underground. The Pro Act is the jackhammer that will break that concrete apart, allowing app-based workers to organize.”The strike began at midnight on Wednesday with workers in California, Boston, Las Vegas, Denver and Austin refusing to take orders. Rallies took place across several cities.Hundreds of workers rallied outside of Los Angeles international airport and at Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco, where drivers blocked the street with cars emblazoned with slogans such as “strike for dignity” and “Uber and Lyft are driving us into poverty”.On the ground below Uber’s towering headquarters in San Francisco’s South Beach neighborhood, speakers at the rally underscored how the pandemic benefited white-collar Uber employees while thousands of drivers were left without work.“Without drivers, there is no Uber – without drivers, there is no Lyft,” said Eddy Hernandez, formerly a senior software engineer at Uber who quit because he disagreed with how the company treated drivers.“Tech workers and drivers need to come together and demand the end to the second-class employment status that restricts workers from having the fair pay and dignity only some are afforded,” he added.Erica Mighetto, who has driven for Lyft for four years and for Uber since 2019, said at the protest in San Francisco that workers fear for their livelihoods as some pandemic-related unemployment benefits are set to run out in September.“We want to get out ahead of that devastation and let our voices be heard,” she said. “We need protections – we need the right to organize.”“When I say worker, you say power” chants at @_drivers_united protest at LAX today pic.twitter.com/JVtVldE8IU— Carly Olson (@CarlyOlson_) July 21, 2021
The strike comes as Uber and Lyft hike prices amid a record driver shortage. That shortage has been driven by a “silent strike”, said Brian Dolber, an organizer and communications professor, as drivers refuse to return to a job they see as exploitative.“This is drivers fighting back and saying they are not going to be second-class workers,” Dolber said. “They are saying they cannot continue to work under the forms of inequality we have seen during the pandemic.”In 2020, the number of Uber rides decreased by 80% in some areas, leaving hundreds of thousands of drivers without work, according to a survey from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Jobs With Justice San Francisco. Some 37% of respondents said they had lost 100% of their income, while another 19% had lost more than 75% of their income.But as vaccinations increased and demand bounced back, many drivers refused to return to their work behind the wheel, said Daniel Russell, a driver for Uber and Lyft for the past four years and an organizer with Rideshare Drivers United.“The pandemic really underscored for us our vulnerability when the market dried up,” he said. “Now is the time to take action.”A spokesman from Lyft told the Guardian that as vaccines had rolled out, it had begun to see the demand for rides outpace drivers but had been adding more drivers in recent weeks. It declined to provide any additional comment on the protests. The strike originally focused on workers in California, where an industry-backed bill called Proposition 22 went into effect in early 2021, exempting some major tech firms from fully complying with labor laws. Under Prop 22, gig companies can continue to be classify workers as contractors, without access to employee rights such as minimum wage, unemployment benefits, health insurance and collective bargaining.Organizers say in the months since Prop 22 passed, Uber and Lyft have raised prices for riders while decreasing the portion of the fare drivers receive. Uber did not immediately respond to request for comment. Lyft denied that claim.“They promised us flexibility, greater control and greater transparency,” said driver Carlos Pelayo. “But since Prop 22 passed, I have less control over where I drive, who I pick up, and how much I make. Prop 22 was the most expensive lie ever told to California voters.”Uber and Lyft: woo drivers with stable pay, not short-term honeypotsRead moreOrganizers say the Pro Act can right some of the failures of Prop 22 but requires more support from Senate Democrats. If passed, it would make it more difficult for gig economy firms to classify workers as independent contractors and allow Uber and Lyft drivers to join together to collectively bargain.“Drivers need the Pro Act because it allows us to form a union and organization that looks out on our behalf and ensures our safety and fair pay,” said Russell, who drives in the Los Angeles area. “We need to be able to have a say.”TopicsUberLyftGig economynewsReuse this content

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