Rideshare companies spent $203M to pass a California measure limiting driver rights. A lawsuit says its fine print could block unions.
The most expensive ballot proposition in California history has won, although its opponents complained of being harassed online.
Gig companies are threatening to eliminate thousands of jobs if their ballot measure doesn’t pass.
Major endorsements arrive as critics worry the measure will be disastrous for California labor.
Lyft and Uber drivers’ early pandemic experiences have soured them on the companies’ ability to keep their workers safe.
An Economic Policy Institute study concluded that rideshare drivers nationwide take home an average of $9.21 an hour after expenses.
Co-published by the American Prospect
If AB 5 becomes law it could open the floodgates to similar legislation in other states. Uber and other companies may then find themselves on the defensive.
Although rideshare apps and other “gig economy” jobs are often billed as ways for workers to make extra cash in their spare time, that hasn’t been the case for many.
Co-published by the American Prospect
The strike by Uber and Lyft drivers came amidst highly anticipated initial public offerings from the two rideshare giants.
This week Capital & Main launches an ongoing project focusing on the broken economics of what is, according to one recent MIT analysis, America’s most expensive state.
Alissa Quart’s new book examines the plights of women and men whose jobs have been devalued by the evolving American economy.
Co-published by Fast Company
Consumer campaigns have existed for more than a century, but the Trump presidency has galvanized activists and accelerated their work.
Co-published by The American Prospect
Uber? That’s so 2015. A new report finds that we don’t know as much about the sharing economy as we think we do.
Co-published by Fast Company
It’s not easy being nobody, especially when you used to be somebody. But times are tough; jobs are scarce. When you’re falling straight down the financial cliff face, you reach out to grab hold of anything available to stop your descent and there, just before you land in a homeless shelter or move in with your sister, is Uber.
Self-employed independent contractors in the Golden State can neither form unions nor negotiate collective bargaining pacts, but part of those conditions could soon change, according to Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego). Gonzalez, Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Women in the Workplace, introduced Assembly Bill 1727 on January 28 as an amendment to the state’s Labor Code. Gonzalez’s bill, which will be updated today, is called the California 1099 Self-Organizing Act. It would allow independent contractors to form employee associations that could negotiate working conditions and pay, though not to form labor unions.
“All workers should have the right to organize and collectively bargain,” Gonzalez said in an email to Capital & Main. “Our laws need to catch up to the innovation happening in our economy to ensure independent contractors have a pathway to these workplace rights as well.”
Historians may remember 2015 as the year of the minimum wage — and for good reason. Twenty-one states and multiple cities raised the minimum wage in the past 12 months, scarcely two years after the “Fight for $15” was dismissed as a pipe dream by some observers. The past year also saw other major advances for working Americans. Here are ten of the most important:
1) Bottoms Up: L.A. Minimum Wage Increase Caps Historic Year for Low-Wage Workers
This summer the City of Los Angeles enacted the most far-reaching minimum wage increase of any municipality in America. L.A. County did the same soon after, which means that over the next five years nearly one million people will see their pay rise to $15.37 an hour. They will also be covered by some of the strongest wage theft protections in the nation, ensuring they actually get the increases mandated by law.
Traveling to and from Israel to take care of his cancer-stricken dad caused Ari Gottlieb to leave a full-time job in sales. As a result, the 37-year-old Los Angeles resident sought “on-demand” employment as an Uber ride-share driver in March 2013. Gottlieb told Capital & Main by phone that he provided nearly 3,000 rides to Uber customers before the company permanently “deactivated” (e.g., fired) him in August 2014.
Deactivation severs drivers’ connection to Uber’s app-based platform. Without that digital access to passengers, drivers are unable to earn income.
“The company contended that I was canceling customer requests for rides,” Gottlieb said. “It was true, but I didn’t have a choice, due to traffic, where I was and the location of the request. I hoped that the customers got a closer driver. Spending 30 minutes driving for a one or two-mile Uber customer trip didn’t make sense.”
Gottlieb labored as an independent contractor,
Twenty-six-year-old Takele Gobena is part of the “on-demand” economy, working full-time as a driver for Uber and part time for Lyft. The Ethiopian immigrant quit his job at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and purchased a new car to drive for the ride-hailing firms, believing it would make him a better provider for his one-year-old daughter. Instead, Gobena now finds himself in debt and, after expenses, making well below minimum wage. But because Uber and Lyft drivers are classified as independent contractors, Gobena is not protected by minimum wage laws.
Gobena’s plight is an increasingly familiar one. A new report from the National Employment Law Project, “Rights on Demand: Ensuring Workplace Standards and Worker Security In the On-Demand Economy,” highlights the problems so many on-demand workers face: “Characterizing workers as non-employees has serious negative consequences for them: non-employees have no statutory right to minimum wage, overtime pay,
It was 2008 and presidential hopeful Barack Obama was inspiring millions of people with his promise to disrupt politics as usual – and a new startup called Airbnb was turning that enthusiasm for change into millions of dollars. Denver, the site of that year’s Democratic National Convention, was expecting 80,000 people to come watch the senator from Illinois accept his party’s nomination. The city had space for less than half.
“Obama supporters can host other Obama supporters,” is what CEO Brian Chesky recalls thinking to himself. In a profile of the company, the Huffington Post notes how that idea was turned into cash. “Airbnb, which lets users rent out part or all of their homes, blasted bloggers in Denver with company information.” It “sold ‘Obama O’s’ cereal around town,” garnering news coverage as “an innovative solution to the city’s lodging crisis.”
Founded in 2007, Airbnb is today valued at more than $25 billion and the for-profit sharing economy it helped usher in is no longer so new.