Contents:

4 min read

    4 min read

    Every other week, I published Rideshare Drivers React on Linked In – it’s a roundup of trending news and what you, the drivers, have to say about it. You can take a look at the series’ previous newsletters here, and I have included this week’s edition below. Let me know what you think in the comments!

    [Editor’s note: Quotes are lightly edited for clarity]

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    These States Have $900 Of Unemployment Benefits Coming

    Given the precarious state of the economy and a pandemic that continues almost unabated, many drivers are understandably hesitant to get back to driving. However, what happened to the $300-400 unemployment benefits promised by the president? Are states fulfilling this promise? We dig into what’s going on nationwide with unemployment benefits, including which states are starting to receive money and which states are not.

    In addition, what obligation do Uber and Lyft have to drivers who are faced with job losses, inability to drive, and need for unemployment protections? As the debate between employee and independent contractor heats up, especially among drivers in California, many drivers are asking for a better examination of what it means to be a truly ‘independent contractor.’

    Here’s what readers are saying:

    In the employee vs. independent contractor debate, one viewer pointed out how Uber and Lyft never purported to be a full-time gig:

    “Uber and Lyft offered people work without any commitments or obligations. They did not promise a career opportunity… It was touted as a side job/gig, part-time. This incredible service that we all appreciate would not be here if they didn’t have that freedom and how many people did they help get work and make money when there was no other option?

    The problems started when people started relying on it to make a living and becoming their only means of livelihood. Then, when people are now fully dependent on Uber/Lyft like this, it really starts to affect them when they start reducing pay rates.

    But could there be another way? As driver Alex points out:

    “Ideally, I would like to remain an independent contractor, where we can set our own rates, and make a living wage. Uber and Lyft’s corporate greed has brought this situation upon all of us. Now they are looking at having to make us all employees, which will raise their labor costs by 30%. Ultimately this cost will be passed onto the riders.”

    Chime in on the discussion here.

    Uber CEO Interview: Should Full Time Uber Drivers Get Benefits?

    Recently, I spoke with Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi about a variety of topics, including driver benefits and pay. Should drivers get a minimum earnings standard? How would this benefit (or penalize) certain drivers?

    In this video below, we discuss minimum earnings, how driver benefits could be allocated to full-time drivers and how Uber’s driver benefit fund would look like if implemented.

    Here’s what readers are saying:

    Some drivers advocate for the ability to set their own rates, whereas other drivers believe this would start a ‘race to the bottom’ in earnings. Viewer Mike disagrees and cites other independent contractor professions:

    True independent contractors in every other industry or trade, from plumbers to electricians to painters to tutors to dog walkers to whatever, set their own rates and “a rate race to the bottom” doesn’t seem to be a major problem for any of them.”

    Another viewer, George, agreed with Uber CEO Khosrowshahi regarding minimum earnings standards, but instead believes this standard should be up to cities:

    Uber & Lyft should not be allowed to set up the minimum rates. Cities should set a minimum rate and drivers can  only decide if they want to charge more or not. Have you been through a rate cut by Uber & Lyft?”

    Chime in on the discussion here.

    Uber and Lyft Are Not Leaving California: Here’s What We Know

    It’s official – Uber and Lyft are not leaving California, yet. What happened and what could this mean for cities and states around the United States? We break down how Uber and Lyft came to this position – it certainly wasn’t an overnight decision! Plus, we cover how Proposition 22 (supported by Uber and Lyft) could change the AB5 designation.

    Here’s what readers are saying:

    Reader Sterling doesn’t buy into Proposition 22 and believes it to be another way for Uber and Lyft to get around paying fair prices to drivers:

    Sorry, but after all these years of lowering and lowering fare rates and flooding the markets with newer and newer drivers, this just seems to be desperation moves by Uber and Lyft.

    Why has it taken so long to pay attention to drivers and the many protests that have taken place over the years?

    Drivers have never just overwhelmingly demanded to be employees.

    We just want to have fair rates for the services provided.”

    Chime in on the discussion here.

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    -Harry @ RSG

    Harry Campbell

    Harry Campbell

    I'm Harry, the owner and founder of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I used to be a full-time engineer but now I'm a rideshare blogger! I write about my experience driving for Uber, Lyft, and other services and my goal is to help drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder.