Re: I am conflicted on this
I can understand why you are conflicted. Its a matter of free choice, right? A driver wants to work flexibly and a company wants a work to work flexibly so why not?
Why not is because its a race to the bottom. It there are employment laws and one company is allowed to dodge them and, by doing so making more money for shareholders, the one following the law will likely have to fold or, also, dodge the employment laws. Where does it stop?
Since this is an IT site, maybe its worth pointing out that computer science has a branch of game theory (you know, prisoner's dilimma and all that) called Mechanism Design (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanism_design). Among other things, it studies game strategies that are rational from the perspective of the players of the game but which are detrimental to the wider society in which the game is played. There are countless examples.
The behaviour by Uber and Lyft are examples of this problem. From their perspective offering flexible work terms to self-employed contractors is rational. However, from the perspective of the society in which Uber and Lyft operate it is not appropriate. After all, where does it end? I no longer have small children but if I did maybe I could offer chimney cleaning services as an inducement to get fares.
California and UK (amongst others) have decided it ends with all companies respecting employment laws. If Uber does not want to respect that requirement they do not have to operate in those jurisdictions. It is true that as a result, the cost of get a ride it likely to increase, that rider will be required to pay more and that some drivers will need to find alternative employment. But this is a choice jurisdictions make: either riders will pay more or they will find an alternative form of transportation if hailing a taxi becomes more expensive.