back to article Uber, Lyft stock decimated as US aims to classify gig workers as staff

The US Department of Labor today signaled it hopes to make it much harder for companies to argue that gig workers and laborers, among others, are individual contractors rather than employees. As detailed in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [PDF], the Biden administration intends to adjust the criteria used to determine how …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good. Because the only thing "new" about Uber's business model is that they try to ignore and bypass existing regulations with excuses of "but its an App!"

    Apps don't make the law go away.

    1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
      Facepalm

      You clock on when you fancy it and clock off when you're done. There's no requirement that you work certain hours or a certain number of hours, you can reject tasks if you choose and you are paid by task completed.

      If the above is true, you aren't an employee.

      1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Most critically, you don't get to value your own labout and set the rates for the ride. So yes, you are still an employee.

      2. Loyal Commenter
        FAIL

        Hello, you just described flexi-time. The wikipedia page on flexible working indicates that it was introduced in 1970.

    2. Triggerfish

      Man everyone thinks an app can do anything nowadays, they should have resorted to old fashioned bribery and corruption.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        There's an app for that...

    3. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

      100% Agree

      It's time the 'gig economy' was eradicated entirely, along with 'zero hrs' contracts... they only exist to punish those most desperate for an income, by denying them their rights and a living wage.

      Back in the 90's, I worked 5 part time jobs in my late teens and twenties... didn't earn a huge amount of money and probably still only worked an average of 30-35hrs a week... But I had better rights then than these people do now... and I probably earned more too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 100% Agree

        I'd agree that most people on zero hour contracts are probably being screwed over royally but there are cases where they can work so long as there is give and take on both sides. My son has had a few zero hour contracts that have worked out for him. He has other business interests and so wants to be able to take days off from the "day job" to do his other work. He's been lucky and the people he's had zero hour contracts with have been OK with this. I think this is how they are supposed to work.

        I know that this is not how they normally work in practice and that for many (most) people they are a case of the company being able to say "we don't need you today so we won't pay you" and/or "someone hasn't turned up so you need to be in the shop in 30 minutes or else".

  2. gnasher729 Silver badge

    An important part of working as a contractor is that you make more money in exchange for your added risk, no holiday pay, no benefits etc. If that is not there, then the company isn’t hiring contractors, they are just exploiting people.

    1. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Downvotes from Liz Truss and her mate, I assume?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Yawn" all you like Liz, we're on to you! (^_^)

        2. Loyal Commenter

          Look, she's yawning, you really can see it's a vacuum in there!

          1. Someone Else Silver badge

            What? She yawns wide enough you can see between her ears?

            1. Loyal Commenter

              Every time she opens her mouth, the air in the room starts rushing into the void inside her head, but not quite loudly enough so that you can't make out her cry of, "I am genuinely unclear"...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ...and the flexibility.

      I assume the people against gig workers being classed separately have never spoken to an uber driver. Quite a lot of them are on several platforms, not just one, and make a decent living. Some Uber drivers make £1,000+ a week with cleverly planned routes and platform hopping (some even carry their own insurance etc and will take private bookings with no platform at all). If you're smart you can make a lot of money as a gig working driver especially if you take the time to plan your routes and locations, acquire the appropriate licenses, insurance and so on. The risk with these platforms is that you can be in the wrong place at the wrong time and end up sitting a round taking no fares, wasting fuel etc.

      A good chunk (at least round my way) are former grocery delivery drivers (who are employees) and they switched because they earned considerably less money, had a shitty work life balance and wanted more control over where they drive and when they drive.

      I suspect there is more to wanting gig workers classed as employees than meets the eye....the drivers don't want it...perhaps Uber, Lyft (or indeed some other gig platform) etc have been lobbying because they don't want their drivers working on more than one platform?

      The risk to platforms providing gig work is that if they are no longer competitive on pay, the workers will just hop somewhere else immediately. No notice period, no warning, workers can just stop using the app immediately...just a mass exodus all at once. I'd imagine it's quite scary being Uber etc as you constantly have to be monitoring activity and making sure you are competitive all the god damned time!

      Gig workers have a considerable amount of power and someone, somewhere high up doesn't like that.

      I use Uber etc all the time and for the most part I can usually get a decent conversation out of most of the drivers...some of them are weirdos for sure, but quite a few of them are very savvy people and those people are very happy with the way they work / live. Obviously, most of my experience here is UK based, not US based so it could be a completely different situation over there...but here in the UK the benefits are clear. Sure, you can have days where you get no fares (or no advantageous fares) but that is what planning is for.

      The last one I spoke to was a former Sainsbury's delivery driver...he was earning peanuts at Sainsbury's and was often doing 10 hour days and had to deal with a lot of abuse from customers (the drivers don't do the pick and pack, they have no control over the quality of the groceries you get) and he was a young bloke with a family and needed a better balance because he was hardly seeing his own kids. So he swapped to Uber (and other platforms) and started planning his routes. He starts the day at Luton airport (near where he lives) and aims to get a fare that leaves him somewhere near Heathrow (within 20 minutes), then he will take fares from Heathrow and aim to end up within 30 minutes of Gatwick with the aim of ending up somewhere in the East of Surrey (30 mins south of Heathrow) from there he will take a bunch of fares from people trying to get home after work, school etc then he will head back to Heathrow, then finally aim to be back in Luton. This approach reduces his fuel costs considerably (the platforms don't pay for your fuel) and ensures he is somewhere that has fares at an appropriate time of the day...he also keeps a close eye on the airport arrivals schedule so he knows when the airports will be busy and he knows when the best fares will be there to be collected. He is classed as an Uber XL so he is most interested in long haul flights with plenty of luggage (he gets more for an XL fare than a standard fare). Dude earns at best £1,500 a week, on average about £800 a week and typically works 4 days a week (total) around his life schedule and typically has around 2 months off (spread across the year) which means his total income is around £30k (not massive, but not terrible either) and he has tons of spare time to do other stuff (he does other work outside of "Ubering" as well, not sure what he earns there).

      All this said, you have to wonder precisely who it is that wants to do away with gig working as it is, because right now if it's done right, it is extremely beneficial to the worker. If we look for the simple answer, it is businesses that want to employ people full time that are taking the biggest hit. Probably massive businesses like supermarkets etc...they can't compete for the same workers. Lower pay, less flexibility...they simply have no way to compete and they will never switch to a gig style setup because it would put them in constant competition with other firms for workers and they would have to significantly up their game on work conditions etc which would be expensive.

      If gig workers were to be classed as employees then legally things get a lot murkier for the workers and it would be a lot more challenging to hop between platforms etc.

      With work from home becoming the norm and employees demanding greater flexibility and so on, the "cost of living crisis", inflation etc massive businesses are going through a severe headache right now because they are losing staff hand over fist because large numbers of people want a better life, greater pay, better conditions etc.

      Here in the UK there are loads of vacancies and not enough workers...for the first time in a long time, the employment market belongs to the employees not the employers. I would imagine a lot of employers out there don't like this at all and will do whatever it takes to shift the market back in their favour again.

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Although not exactly the same, casual labour ( politicised as "zero hour contracts" ) are attacked in a similar way.

        However inconveniently, polling shows that almost all users of "ZHC's" like them. Because only 1/40 people are on them and those 1/40 are students, stay-at-home parents with a few hours here and there, who like or need the flexibility that casual labour offers.

        When things get politicised by the left as a method of self-aggrandising, people get hurt. In this case it's Uber drivers. In my example it's people who can't commit to regular working hours.

        1. TonyJ Silver badge

          "...However inconveniently, polling shows that almost all users of "ZHC's" like them. Because only 1/40 people are on them and those 1/40 are students, stay-at-home parents with a few hours here and there, who like or need the flexibility that casual labour offers..."

          Ok I will bite.

          Since you didn't provide any citation for your claim that most people like them, I went off and looked on google. The search I used was "does anyone like being on a zero hour contract?" and funnily enough not one link came up to show a study that verifies your claims.

          However you get plenty of hits back that discuss the pros and cons with very few pros. Plenty to suggest they can be harmful to heath (stress and uncertainty) and plenty discussing how you literally have no employment rights.

          So I see your point - there seems to be s metric shit tonne of plusses to people who are on them </sarcasm>

          Can you provide evidence to back up your claims?

          1. hoola Silver badge

            As the parent of two university-aged offspring you are correct. ZHC have only very limited use from the employee's perspective and "casual labour" working in a shop/bar/restaurant that fits with the random student life works. The only reason it works is because it suits both parties and the money earned is generally not required as a regular source to live off.

            The main beneficiary of ZHC is the employer:

            They have a pool of cheap staff to draw from.

            They can require you to be available for x number of days/shifts/hours that then totally screws you over doing anything else, because if you do you are then in exactly the same situation.

            No other contract is so much in favour of the employer to treat the employee like crap.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I think a ratio of pros to cons is a bit of a loony way to look at things. You can have a massive list of mild cons, but one or two massive pros. For example.

            Pros:

            Pays £50k a year.

            It's easy.

            It's interesting.

            Cons:

            You have a weekly catch up meeting.

            The free coffee is shit.

            Your colleagues might be fucking boring.

            Your manager is an arsehole.

            The commute is an hour each way.

            The commute is expensive.

            You have to take part in Secret Santa every year.

            It's a 9 to 5.

            In this case, I've basically outlined every typical full time job. If your ratio system made any sense, then nobody would be in work...ever.

            Basically, you only really need a couple of major benefits to offset a shitload of drawbacks.

            Being harmful to health is highly subjective. It's easy to think that a vast majority of zero hour contract people are single mums on the breadline that can't get any other work, but I refuse to believe that is the case.

            My wife was on a zero hour contract for 2 years...we have two kids and a mortgage...her main motivation was to have some sort of flexibility and her second motivation was to keep a foot in the door with some kind of work.

            Zero hours contracts work two ways, the employer has no obligation to give you any work and you have no obligation to take it. So you could in theory juggle a few zero hour contracts then pick and choose the work you want when it fits. That's a massive pro!

      2. Peter2 Silver badge

        Some Uber drivers make £1,000+ a week

        Which is revenue; and so excludes the cost of their vehicle, maintenance, asset depreciation from driving the car more heavily than we would, and the cost of fuel. All of that comes off before considering their profit, which would essentially be their wages.

        I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that their costs are easily going to be above 50% given the current fuel prices, and if your driving 8 hours a day compared to my roughly half hour commute in both directions in a car then by simple rule of odds if your driving ~16 times more than me you are >16 times more likely to end up having an accident as fatigue comes into play, given that they'd be driving amounts that would be illegal if they were an HGV driver with a tachograph.

        The "gig" economy is simply a return of "piecework", which had been exterminated so long ago it'd passed out of common memory because it was banned for being abusive and exploitative and a method to evade paying taxes, the minimum wage and sick/holiday pay.

        Much like today, really.

        1. Loyal Commenter

          Which is revenue; and so excludes the cost of their vehicle, maintenance, asset depreciation from driving the car more heavily than we would, and the cost of fuel.

          Don't forget to include business-use insurance, which, as far as I am aware, is eye-wateringly expensive compared to the minimum 3rd party insurance required to drive a vehicle privately.

          I suspect a lot of Uber drivers don't actually have adequate insurance, and will be in for quite a shock if they ever have an accident, both financially, and legally, because apart from having to cover the costs themselves, they will be on the hook for driving an uninsured vehicle, which will most likely land you with 6 points and a £300 fine.

          1. Grogan

            My insurance brokers got after me twice (after I ignored them the first time) to get commercial vehicle insurance, because they know I'm self employed. This is simply driving myself in around my locality in my personal car (i.e. not owned by my "business" or anything), to work on people's computers on-site.

            The second time I took their advice. I was just planning on lying if I got in an accident, "I was on my way to McDonalds" or whatever, but since they were already aware of what I do (and contacted me again about it with stronger admonishments), it was sensible to just upgrade insurance.

            The bottom line is, I would not be insured if I got in an accident if they could prove I was on my way to a gig.

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              "My insurance brokers got after me twice (after I ignored them the first time) to get commercial vehicle insurance, because they know I'm self employed. This is simply driving myself in around my locality in my personal car (i.e. not owned by my "business" or anything), to work on people's computers on-site."

              I supposed it depends on where you are. I talked to my insurer and they told me that as long as I wasn't in the business of transporting people or goods, I was covered. Using the car as a self-employed person to get from client to client was ok. They do base rates on miles driven each year as part of the cost calculation.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Not once have I been asked by an insurance company after an accident "why" I was driving.

              All they ever ask is the circumstances of the accident. Who hit who, which direction were you going, how much damage, any injuries etc etc.

              Never "What was the reason for your journey?", because it's none of their fucking business. The only thing they need to establish is who is liable.

              You have absolutely no obligation to disclose why you were at that particular spot the accident occurred or where you were going.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            > I suspect a lot of Uber drivers don't actually have adequate insurance, and will [have to cover accident costs] themselves

            Which they almost certainly won't be able to if it's something really serious (hence why third-party insurance is mandatory).

            I'm pretty sure Uber have already anticipated that this was likely to be the case and that such a scenario might arise. And I'm guessing they were planning on using their drivers' status as "contractors" to shirk any liability on their part for uninsured third-party damages.

            The interesting thing to consider is that- even if that stunt was going to ever fly in court in the first place- they're far less likely to get away with it if their drivers are deemed "employees".

            1. Loyal Commenter

              Which they almost certainly won't be able to if it's something really serious (hence why third-party insurance is mandatory).

              Absolutely. Get cut up by some wanker in a brand new BMW/Audi (or these days, a Tesla) and run into them. Unless you can prove otherwise (you did have cameras filming in all directions, right?), that was your fault, so you’re not only on the hook for the damages to your own vehicle, but you'll have to find £40+ to replace that Tesla you wrote off, and then probably several grand on top of that for the whiplash claim.

          3. MachDiamond Silver badge

            "Don't forget to include business-use insurance, "

            Most insurers in the US have a clause that specifically names Uber and Lyft as excluded activities. Since they send those packets out AFTER somebody signs up and pays, most people don't bother to read through them. I find it helps me go to sleep which is why they are written the way they are. The last thing the insurance company wants you to know is how little coverage you are actually getting.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            The Uber drivers in my neck of the woods have to have appropriate insurance, otherwise Uber won't allow them on the system. You need to hold an appropriate license and the relevant insurance.

        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

          " "piecework", which had been exterminated so long ago it'd passed out of common memory because it was banned for being abusive and exploitative and a method to evade paying taxes, the minimum wage and sick/holiday pay."

          There is still piecework but companies have to show that somebody with average competence can make at least a certain percentage over minimum wage doing the job. The company can't require a certain number of hours or supervision. Depending on what sort of work it is, it can be very good for students and mothers with children at home. I used to put together circuit boards for a friend of mine on a piecework basis. He gave me a kit of parts and let me know how many he needed done each week. It worked out well since I needed some filler work and could solder much better than he could. His time was also more valuable doing other things. It finally got to the point where he had enough volume that it made more sense to have the boards done at a proper stuffing house, but my soldering was still much better and I did basic testing so there were zero errors when delivered.

          If the gypsy cab companies just allowed people to log in and set their own wages, routes, etc, they might get away with it. It's the measure of control they want over the drivers that puts them in hot water.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Of course it is revenue, but the running costs of a car are nothing compared the costs of a commute. So his net take home is likely much higher than a typical office zombie.

          Typically, Uber drivers don't buy the cars either, they lease them. Which means they can rotate the car out for a new model within 2-3 years...so wear and tear is a none issue. Also, they won't use their own car...because of excess mileage...the dude I mentioned does roughly 150-200 miles each shift he does. Which works out to about 10,000 miles a year. Which is bugger all in terms of mileage on a lease. Your average sales twat will do at least 10 times that mileage in the same time period. A lot of them also buy very specific cars in order to save on fuel and give them the flexibility to work different tiers of Uber fares if they need to.

          Yes, there are people that get stung by the way Uber operates, but that's not because of Uber. It's because they don't properly plan and think they can hop in the family people carrier and start making bank without thinking about anything.

          That's just life though...some people know what they're doing, take a considered approach and others don't.

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            "Typically, Uber drivers don't buy the cars either, they lease them."

            That would need some support. Car leases come with maximum mileage guidelines so using a leased car for a taxi might make driving for Uber/Lyft even worse. Leasing companies are also up to speed on prohibiting the cars to be used as a taxi or goods delivery. It's one thing to put lots on miles on a leased car with lots of highway driving, but it's very much another for masses of short city driving trips. According to Car and Driver <https://www.caranddriver.com/research/a32769053/high-mileage-lease/>, an average mileage allocation is 12,000/year. If you are driving a car 10,000 for Uber, that doesn't leave very much outside of that for personal use.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Lordrobot

    YELLOW CABBIES UNION RIPS INTO INNOVATION

    What else is new... UNIONS are merely tools for the Destruction of the future.

    Legally an independent Contractor supplies his own tools. All the rubbish you are reading below is UNIONI pablem. There is plenty of grey areas here too. Doctors in Emergency Departments are Individual Contractors and they don't carry their own defibrillators in from the parking garage, so are sporting athletes; do they supply their own footballs? But here we have the DEM-controlled FTC going after companies that have found a more economical way to hire transportation services. Why not add some more inflation and destroy some more jobs... Dems are very good at this.

    IN Britain everyone is UNIONIZED so the free economy is already a shambles. Competition in the UK is already pre-stifled. It took a lot of planning to destroy the British Empire. The US Empire is headed in the same direction.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: YELLOW CABBIES UNION RIPS INTO INNOVATION

      In case you hadn't noticed, the investigations and potential prosecution and restriction of Uber et. al. began under Drumpf, so your vitriol is based only on your own personal angst.

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

        Re: YELLOW CABBIES UNION RIPS INTO INNOVATION

        I wonder why the anti-German racism in your post is considered acceptable just because of who you are attacking.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: YELLOW CABBIES UNION RIPS INTO INNOVATION

          low_quality_bait.jpg

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: YELLOW CABBIES UNION RIPS INTO INNOVATION

          It is his real name, not the the paint job he portrays as are all his manicured "personality traits." The man is either insane or a terrific actor, and either way, not to be trusted one whit. But the fact he claims to be diametrically opposed to Biden just means that Uber is in trouble no matter which party is running the government.

          I'd be shedding stock like fall leaves right now had I been fool enough to buy into a business model I don't believe in.

    2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: YELLOW CABBIES UNION RIPS INTO INNOVATION

      And we all eat boiled mutton for every meal.

      Did you get this drivel from the New York Times by any chance?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "IN Britain everyone is UNIONIZED so the free economy is already a shambles. "

      Might I suggest you change your handle to something more appropriate?

      "Merkin dullard" would be a good candidate.

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: "IN Britain everyone is UNIONIZED so the free economy is already a shambles. "

        Nah, look back at this idiots previous post and you'll see he is clearly from a Russian Troll Farm, or maybe a Chinese one.

        You can ignore everything he says as just an attempt to inflame people...

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          "..and you'll see he is clearly from a Russian Troll Farm,"

          Oh dear :-(

          One of codejunky's cube mates.

          <sigh>

          I try to avoid actuall killfiling a name. Whatever they say can tell you a bit about what their boss is interested in.

          1. codejunky Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: "..and you'll see he is clearly from a Russian Troll Farm,"

            @John Smith 19

            "One of codejunky's cube mates."

            Go on I'll bite. What has this to do with me? Or are you just missing me?

    4. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: YELLOW CABBIES UNION RIPS INTO INNOVATION

      "...IN Britain everyone is UNIONIZED so the free economy is already a shambles. Competition in the UK is already pre-stifled. It took a lot of planning to destroy the British Empire. The US Empire is headed in the same direction..."

      What?

      In case you hadn't noticed, the British Empire has long since been dead - it's just unfortunate that certain people both in and out of power are trying to suck on a corpse so old it's no longer even fetid. On the plus side we did give most of the world a day's holiday to celebrate independence.

      The unions are not half as powerful as they were 40 years ago and our economy is tanking due to many factors - Brexit, Covid, very poor government and more.

      The US Empire? What is that?

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: YELLOW CABBIES UNION RIPS INTO INNOVATION

        History seems to suggest that the British Empire was just a Tory lunch, yes it wasn't a great lunch but Truss is working on better lunch for the Tories these days.

        1. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

          Re: YELLOW CABBIES UNION RIPS INTO INNOVATION

          They plan to feast on the carcasses of the poverty stricken that will die because of their delusions of grandeur.

    5. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: UNIONS are merely tools for the Destruction of the future.

      Depends on what future you want to live in...

      Currently, it looks like the Unions are pussycat compared to Truss, Kwarteng, Mogg et al.

    6. iron Silver badge

      Re: YELLOW CABBIES UNION RIPS INTO INNOVATION

      What's a yellow cabbie? Taxi cabs are black.

    7. Loyal Commenter

      Re: YELLOW CABBIES UNION RIPS INTO INNOVATION

      OK, I'll bite to this ill-informed rAnDoMlY CAPITALISED rant.

      Unions are responsible for:

      - Weekends

      - The working week (maximum working hours)

      - Sick pay

      - Maternity pay

      - Health and safety in the workplace

      ...and many, many other positive things. (Well, positive from the worker's point of view, not so much from the point of view of the mill owner and the landed gentry).

      Also, FWIW, most workers in the UK are not "UNIONIZED" (in the UK we would spell it unionised, and without the angry all-caps). Is the opposite of unionised ionised? (a little chemistry joke for you there).

      In 2020, 23.7% of the UK workforce was part of a union, it's probably a little higher now, as the figures have been creeping up over recent years. Rather than unionisation being a cause of poor working conditions and pay in the UK, it is a direct result of it. Trade unions weren't formed in the 19th century because the mill owners were all sweetness and light, you know.

      These days, we tend to think of inherited wealth and privilege as a negative thing when it comes to having a healthy society.

      edit - I'll just add, that in the UK, we were having these struggles for worker's rights at the same time as those in the nascent US were still busy murdering the locals.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: YELLOW CABBIES UNION RIPS INTO INNOVATION

        "OK, I'll bite to this ill-informed rAnDoMlY CAPITALISED rant.

        Unions are responsible for:

        - Weekends

        - The working week (maximum working hours)

        - Sick pay

        - Maternity pay

        - Health and safety in the workplace

        ...and many, many other positive things. (Well, positive from the worker's point of view, not so much from the point of view of the mill owner and the landed gentry).

        And now that all of that is codified in law, the usefulness of many unions is greatly diminished. It's just like the US Rural Electrification Act. Even in the day and age when there are power lines going just about everywhere, there is still an agency hoovering up taxpayer money to keep it going.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: YELLOW CABBIES UNION RIPS INTO INNOVATION

      Defibrillators and professional footballs are subject to strict regulations. Care to find better examples?

      A builder, who is a contractor, turns up with his own tools. The one I had in recently had no expectation for me to supply him with kit.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Uber, lyft corporate types

    Leeches.

    Greedy bastards in suits.

    Up the workers!!

    1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

      Re: Uber, lyft corporate types

      What workers? They don't employ anybody.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Uber, lyft corporate types

        This one's quite interesting in that it could be meant- and read- entirely straight (i.e. poster genuinely *is* a rabid free-marketeer that thinks this is a legitimate rebuttal and/or a troll) or as a nicely concise and sarcastic dig at Uber's (non-)employee classification practices.

        (This probably explains the almost equal number of up and down votes.)

        In the context of "Disgusted's" other comments (in this thread and elsewhere), it's almost certainly the former, unfortunately.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Uber, Lyft stock decimated as US aims to classify gig workers as staff

    so the party's over? But hey, it lasted long and good, time to move on...

    1. hoola Silver badge

      Re: Uber, Lyft stock decimated as US aims to classify gig workers as staff

      So the stock is now worth something closer to what it should be.

      Still way over-valued though.

      They are just Apps, nothing else.

  6. Potemkine! Silver badge

    "Beat the Bastards"

    A step in the right direction. Those companies' business models are based on screwing exploited workers.

    == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: "Beat the Bastards"

      And not paying taxes...

      Which gives the Government (Democrate or Republican) a big problem; it has no monies to pay welfare or (if it decides not to pay welfare) pay the police/army to repress the exploited workers..

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Lot of AC posting going on here.

    Looks like Uber and Lyft got themselves a PR company to do a bit of astro-turfing.

    Or maybe that's just my cynical attitude.

    This "They're not employees" BS always looked like a scam to avoid legitimate regulation.

    Because it is exactly that.

    Fair competition is the way a real market lowers costs.

    1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Lot of AC posting going on here.

      Everybody who disagrees with you is paid to do so.

      Let me guess, you vote for a left-wing party, don't you?

      1. Loyal Commenter
        Trollface

        Re: Lot of AC posting going on here.

        If you dislike Tunbridge Wells so much, have you considered going and living somewhere else? I'm sure they have some very good mental health care facilities in other towns. I've heard that the Priory can offer you some excellent* private care.

        *Opinions may vary

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Lot of AC posting going on here.

      Probably just the usual three headbangers on their hobby horses trying to look bigger than they are.

      1. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

        Re: Lot of AC posting going on here.

        Maybe they finally got that single brain cell hooked up to a blockchain, and can finally share the 'load' instead of waiting for their turn to use it.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Lot of AC posting going on here.

      >Looks like Uber and Lyft got themselves a PR company to do a bit of astro-turfing.

      From the adverts Uber are currently running in the UK, they are definitely astro-turfing, pitching themselves as a family-friendly employer...

  8. MJI Silver badge

    Who came here to check the 10% decimate?

    I did and was pleased to see it was.

    1. Stephen McLaughlin

      Re: Who came here to check the 10% decimate?

      I did the same. Glad to see it being used correctly.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Who came here to check the 10% decimate?

        Accepted usage for a long time (centuries) has been significantly more than 10%.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Who came here to check the 10% decimate?

          The rest of us are reclaiming the 10%, or it makes no sense.

  9. aerogems Silver badge

    Third Classification?

    Seems like this is one of those cases where maybe a third classification is needed. Somewhere between employee and independent contractor. However, in the absence of that, it's definitely true that gig workers are much closer to employees than independent contractors so I'm all for this. The company controls pretty much everything about what the person does while "on the clock" and the only real "innovation" here is that people can stop and start whenever they feel like it.

    If a business can't make a go of it without abusing its workers and/or ignoring the law, it doesn't deserve to exist.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Uber is a dead end.

    Generally these gig jobs require few skills and the companies that offer them can make risk free profit while contributing little to the countries social security or balance of payments. This puts manufacturing companies that could contribute more to society and the trade balance at a disadvantage because they are required to offer benefits and pay into social security. It's not a level playing field.

    Uber has sucked up and are sitting on ~40 billion of capital they have never none better than barely breaking even, their goal being merely to occupy the monopoly position (with little brother Lyft as token competition), and using that monopoly position to drum up more investment capital. To that end they employ legions of lobbyists and financial "game the system" wizards - i.e. professional political financial parasites.

    If Uber had developed as a software company that contracted out their dispatch system to other taxi companies, Uber could be probably be making the typical software company margin of 30-60% a year on expenses, but with a much smaller capital base.

    Note that I have written nothing about workers rights - only about how gig companies are a drag on developing a internationally competitive economy. Not by coincidence, that requires putting more investment into developing semi-skilled and skilled workers.

  11. Someone Else Silver badge

    What was old is new again -- sorta

    Some of you greybeards on the left side of the Pond might remember the Section 1706 debacle from the middle '80s and '90s. Quickly stated, 1706 sought to remove Section 530 "safe-harbor" protections from "programmers, engineers, analysts, draftsmen1, and other similarly skilled technical workers", who were holding out their shingle as independent contractors. The intent was to try to force these people to become employees of some tech body shop. The effect was to have numerous tech ICs close up shop, as skitterish client firms refused to hire ICs. (1706 put the burden of enforcement on client firms, with threats of coming after the firms themselves for back taxes and penalties.) Put forward and pushed by several large northeastern body shops who were losing business to these pesky onesey-twosey shops, the law was eventually repealed by a filibuster-proof majority of senators, including one of 1706's original sponsors, senator Patrick Moynahan.

    To be sure, there are several notable differences between 1706 and the current proposed rulemaking. For example, 1706 went after the putative high end of the workforce (independent engineers and techies), while this endeavor is aimed at protecting the lowest end of the workforce's income earners. And there is ample evidence that "gig workers" are subject to exploitation that wouldn't occur in the era of 1706 (offshoring wasn't as much of a thing back then). However, this is yet another attempt by the gub'mint to force folks away from independent contracting (and the general illusion of "being your own boss") into the clutches of employee-ism, with the concomitant loss of flexibility, and even freedom in some cases.

    Regardless of whether this is truly a compassionate move (1706 specifically wasn't), the Law of Unintended Consequences will raise its ugly head, and smite some people. At things generally go, that will be the folks who can least afford to be smitten. One should be careful about what one asks for.

    1Draftsmen! Really?!? The general consensus at the time was that that was thrown in there to keep the law from unconstitutionally singling out computer programmers, which was the real target of the law

  12. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    To his credit

    my boss refuses to do ZHC for the temps.

    Says its unjust.. so when we need some staff to help out its call the agencies and hire temps for say 40 hrs... and if we only have 30 hrs for them they still get the full 40 hrs(he'll blame everyone else for not being able to estimate correctly)

    And this is why ZHC are bad

    Because it places ALL the risk of a business on the hapless contractors, and is especially bad when the contractor is trying to pay his/her way and has no certainity of getting paid that week.

    Just like the dock workers of yesteryear when you turned up at the dock gate at 7am to see if theres work for the day and got sent home if not.

    If you work for uber et al alone, with them deciding the rate you are paid, what you deliver and when, you are not a 'contractor' you are an employee with all the benefits that brings. and its only these companies trying to use a semi-legal loophole to try and reduce costs to undercut the competition that pays their employees correctly.

    and its especially insulting when the company charges the contractor for cover if the contractor falls ill and cannot work.

  13. teebie

    "The largest share of workers with IC income are those in the top quartile of earnings who primarily receive wage income."

    This is meant to imply that independent contractors are doing well, but looks like a desperate attempt to twist some figures.

    Is it that those on wage income, as opposed to salaried, tend to be poorly paid, so that if you have waged income topped up by independent contracting then you are somewhat well-paid compared to other poorly-paid people?

  14. SammyB

    Very simple, unions hate gig workers. Labor unions would love to turn gig workers into employees so then can work on unionizing them.

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