Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Uber's State of California Proposition 22 Ruled Unconstitutional & Tesla's Autopilot Accidents And Future Of Autonomous-Driving Vehicles

 "The entirely of Proposition 22 is unenforceable." says Alameda County Superior Court Judge Roesch

On Friday, August 20th, Judge Frank Roesch, a Superior Court judge in Alameda County, California, ruled that the 2020 California voter initiative known as Proposition 22, a law  passed by a 58% vote margin after a $200 million dollar promotion campaign paid by Uber, Lyft and other TNC companies, was ruled unconstitutional (violating the State of California Constitution) and unenforceable because it limited the California Legislature's ability to organize and access worker's compensation by requiring a 7/8ths supermajority to amend the proposition, something viewed as impossible.  Anyone familiar with how government functions in the USA knows that the most stringent majority requirement is usually 2/3rds of the elected body, a 7/8ths requirement something straight out of a autocracy, something that might make a Stalin or a Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung) smile in appreciation. What Proposition 22 accomplished was abolishing California Assembly Bill 5, a law recognizing gig workers as employees.  No, no, Uber and Lyft didn't like that, a concept undermining their ability to keep the drivers corralled and pinned beneath their corporate thumb.  

In further explaining his ruling Judge Roesh wrote "A prohibition on legislation authorizing collective bargaining by app-based drivers does not promote the right to work as an independent contractor, nor does it provide minimum workplace safety and pay standards for those workers. It appears only to protect the economic interest of the network companies in having a divided, un-unionized workforce, which is not a stated goal of the legislation."  He could not have stated it any clearer, dismissing the lie that Proposition 22 would enhance gig workers lives.  In a survey of 500 California gig workers, only 10 percent have received the promised health care subsidy, that is, a mere 50 out of 500 individuals. 

In a published comment, University of California-Hastings Law Professor, Veena Dubal, said that the TNC companies "erred in trying to completely take away the right of legislatures and municipalities to do anything on behalf of workers, as well as trying to take the workers out of the state workers' state compensation system."  

It is clear that Uber and Lyft are doing everything they can to survive because they remain on the verge of failure, of disappearing completely from the transportation landscape.  Uber lost $6.77 billion in 2020 and $8.51 billion in 2019.   Lyft lost $1.75 billion in 2020 and $2.60 billion in 2019.  Ther rates charged to riders have gone up 92% from January 2018 to July of this year, 2021.  As of this July, their overall workforce is down by 40%.  

A good, bad example of what is occurring was the fellow I took home from 2nd and South Jackson Street to his place on the 900 hundred-block of 10th Avenue East.  Uber quoted him $60.00.  My meter read just over ten dollars.  It is the wild, wild west and now the taxis are winning the fare-based shootout.  Hurray!

Tesla's Potentially Fatal Autopilot Operating System

Pre-pandemic, us cabbies sitting at the train station argued about how we would or wouldn't be replaced by autonomous or robotic cars, vehicles not needing a driver to safely operate.  Finally, after a more or less hands off policy, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is opening an investigation into the at least 11 accidents involving Tesla's Autopilot system, the crashes killing one woman and injuring a total of 17 people.  It seems the Autopilot has a knack for running into emergency response vehicles parked on the side of freeways.  Not a good thing.  

And what does it mean concerning the replacement of cabbies by completely hands-free vehicles?  That it isn't happening soon, if at all, is the answer.  Despite all the previous media hype, our society is years away from that science fiction reality.  Instead, like in Germany, teach people to really learn and know how to drive a car.  Do that and we will all be safer, happier and wiser.   

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