Friday, January 3, 2020

Uber Is Running Scared In California

Uber, along with on-demand delivery service, Postmates, jointly filed a lawsuit Monday, December 31st, aimed at blocking a new State of California law called Assembly Bill 5 (or AB5 for short),  a law that took effect the next day, on January 1st, reclassifying gig workers as something less than solely independent.   In addition to that effort, Uber, along with Lyft, Doordash, Postmates and Instacart, have collectively pooled 110 million dollars to put an initiative ballot measure upon the November 2020 ballot designed to effectively block what the new law intends, Uber and the others wanting to stop independent, freelance "gig" workers from being reclassified as employees, understanding they will annually be responsible for hundreds of millions in additional expenses.

Uber is also mad that some professions are exempted from the new law while they are not, Uber finally getting the idea they are no longer a "favored child."  Their statement that "There is no rhyme or reason to these nonsensical exemptions." says everything about the corner they feel backed into, understanding full well their ten-year long regulatory honeymoon is over---California, the City of London amongst others doing what should have been done years ago: acknowledging that Uber is a rogue operator minus moral limits. 

All this says, along with their continuing financial losses and bad publicity, that in 2020, Uber is in big trouble, and only a blind optimist thinks their situation will somehow be improving soon.  As previously noted, their founding CEO has cut all ties to his former company.  Soon, I wouldn't be surprised if the big industrial investors propping up Uber also disappear, tired of losing tens of billions of dollars. 

I am also doubtful that California voters will suddenly be sympathetic to companies like Uber, Lyft, etc crying foul while milking their workers for every dime they can extract.  It is a bad situation, something no longer to be condoned.  Three cheers for California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and her colleagues for telling Uber they can go to hell, or something like that.  As said, it has been a long time in coming.

(Editor's note:  This article was written in part from news reporting featured in the NY Times, the Guardian, and the San Francisco Chronicle.  The opinion expressed of course is mine, and solely mine)

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