In this week’s roundup, senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins covers gig work proposals and rulings in Europe, Lyft dabbling in delivery and more.
Uber proposes California-style gig work reforms in Europe [CNBC]
Summary: Uber urged EU policymakers to implement reforms that protect drivers and couriers operating through an app, without reclassifying them as employees. The ride-hailing giant floated a model similar to Prop 22 in California, which exempted its drivers from employee status while still entitling them to some benefits. The move comes ahead of a review from the European Commission on Feb. 24, which aims to lay the groundwork for regulation of gig economy platforms….
My Take: Here we go. Of course Uber wants to make things equal to all of their workers driving for them across the world. It would be easier if they could just have one way of doing things and calling it good.
It must be a pain to try to juggle the way California is versus the rest of the US versus the rest of the world…while also backing out of their duties to treat their workers as employees as defined by some labor laws. Keep an eye on Europe. It’ll be interesting to see if this gains traction, which leads to the next headline.
Uber loses final appeal against drivers’ employment status in UK [The Verge]
Summary: Uber has lost the final appeal in a long running UK legal battle over whether its drivers are self-employed or legally-recognized workers with all the attendant rights, Bloomberg reports. The ruling is the conclusion of the company’s five-year legal fight in the country and a major setback for Uber that could affect all gig workers in the UK, regardless of employer.
My Take: While they are trying to make headway in Europe, it looks like Uber is stalling out in the UK. This makes me wonder if Uber is actually going to change their business model in the UK to address the issues concerning workers rights to a minimum wage, paid holiday, and other legal protections. Or, will they do as they threatened in California when faced with a similar issue—just leave?
Lyft Leans in to Delivery [Restaurant Business Online]
Summary: Uber’s ride-share rival said in November that it was exploring the B2B delivery market, and last week confirmed that it is continuing to invest there, with pilots underway in a handful of markets. Executives emphasized that Lyft wants to provide last-mile delivery for restaurants or other businesses, and is not focused on being a consumer-facing marketplace like Uber Eats and DoorDash….
My Take: I was wondering when Lyft was going to start dipping their toes in the delivery market, outside of the charitable delivery services they’ve implemented in recent times, that is.
I think it’s smart of Lyft to focus solely on the B2B side of this market instead of trying to make a name for themselves as an actual delivery app. There are too many contenders out there already that have a firm hold on the industry. Helping out restaurants at the tail end might prove to be a more affordable option for some businesses and might support Lyft’s aims to become profitable.
Uber won’t buy bitcoin with its cash but would consider accepting it as payment, CEO says [CNBC]
Summary: Uber has “quickly dismissed” the idea of buying bitcoin with the cash on its balance sheet, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told CNBC. “We’re going to keep our cash safe. We’re not in the speculation business,” he said. However, he left open the possibility of Uber eventually accepting cryptocurrencies as payment….
My Take: This all went down after Tesla said they bought $1.5 billion in bitcoin. It doesn’t surprise me that Uber would have made an announcement like this, and it doesn’t really surprise me that they aren’t currently willing to take the leap as it were with bitcoin. Their cash is precious at the moment and not worth jeopardizing. However, I’m sure those taking part in the bitcoin craze would be excited to hear that Uber may start accepting it as a form of payment in the future.
What is PRO Act and Why Should Doordash, Uber Eats, Instacart, Grubhub Contractors Keep an Eye on It? [Entre Courier]
Summary: PRO Act is back and it could be a game changer for independent contractors with Doordash, Instacart, Grubhub, Uber Eats or any other gig economy company. Democrats in Congress have re-introduced the PRO Act, or Professional Right to Organize. The act was passed by Congress in 2020 but stalled out in the Republican controlled Senate. Now with a slim margin in the Senate and with support from President Biden, Democrats see an opportunity to pass sweeping labor reform.
My Take: We covered this story this week: PRO Act Could Redefine Labor Laws for Gig Workers Nationwide. IF the PRO Act Bill passes, it’s possible and probable that the courts will prove gig economy app companies such as Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Grubhub and others should have employees instead of contractors to do the driving and delivering for their companies.
We also reached out on Facebook and here is some feedback we got about this news:
Tom Werner pointed out: “I believe there is a third class of worker in Europe, the dependent contractor that has most all of the protections of an employee — min wage, workers comp, unemployment, etc, but most of the freedoms of the IC. Our laws need to change with the times.”
Chad Griffin stated: “It shouldn’t supersede in California with the votes already determined.”
Overall, it doesn’t sound like drivers are excited about this plan. If you feel strongly for it or against it, consider writing or calling your legislator to voice your opinion. Washington can’t make informed decisions without hearing from the people their decisions affect.
What do you think of this week’s news? Any surprises you didn’t expect?
-Paula @ RSG