It must be great to be so rich that you can shut down businesses during a pandemic without a care.
The State of California has gone after Uber and Lyft, claiming that drivers are employees and not contractors. Never mind that drivers don’t have to drive for the companies, can set their own hours, are free to refuse trips, and can choose to operate in any area they want. In the eyes of the state, the drivers are employees for one simple reason. They want to unionize.
The situation has been simmering for months, but is now reaching a boiling point. The state demanded that Uber (and Lyft) categorize all the drivers in the state as employees, which makes them all eligible for the full benefits due employees and also puts the ride-hailing companies on the hook for all the taxes and other costs that go along with hiring people.
Uber has an answer. It will shut down in the state.
Now, to be clear, Uber as a company is a cheat. The company claims to be a “technology firm,” but the entire world knows what it is. The firm is a ride-hailing platform that allows individuals to put their cars into service as taxis when they see fit. Uber skirts all the laws on registering taxis, paying fees on taxis (think airport access fees), safety inspections, licensing of drivers, etc. The firm relies on hubris to get so ingrained in the culture that local governments won’t dare cut them out of the ecosystem.
Now it looks like Uber met its match. The company is fighting with an entity, the state, that’s just as callous as it is. May they both lose.
Of course, the real losers are people who drove for the services who can no longer earn money that way, and the riders who no longer have the option.