Uber and Lyft: The Gig Economy Is Coming for Millions of American Jobs, Auto News, ET Auto
Last year companies such as Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart spent a record $200 million campaigning for an Election Day ballot measure that would exempt them from the California law, arguing in ads and in-app messages that keeping drivers contractors would protect their ability to work. A week after the election, Shawn Carolan, a partner at early Uber investor Menlo Ventures, wrote an op-ed heralding the potential to spread Prop 22’s vision of work “from agriculture to zookeeping,” including to “nursing, executive assistance, tutoring, programming, restaurant work and design.” The Coalition for Workforce Innovation, a lobbying group that seeks to enable wider use of contract labor, includes trade groups representing Amazon.com, Apple, AT&T, Comcast NBCUniversal, CVS Health, General Motors, Nike, Rite Aid, Starbucks, T-Mobile, Verizon Communications, and Walmart, as well as construction, finance, media, sales, and trucking interests. Now gig companies are pressing their advantage. While pushing Prop 22 as a national model, they’re also aiming to secure deals with unions in states like New York and California that could codify some form of union representation as well as benefits without making workers employees. Mary Kay Henry, the president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), America’s second-biggest, says she’ll listen to ride-hailing drivers and “back whatever they think about whatever company might be interested in reaching an agreement.” Mario Cilento, the head of the AFL-CIO in New York, which has been meeting with companies to discuss a compromise, says New York’s gig workers deserve to be recognized as full-fledged employees. But “I don’t believe in war in a lot of things,” he says, because “if you can talk things out, you can give yourselves an opportunity to get things done.” A spokesperson for California’s building trades council, which played a key role in scuttling talks with Uber and Lyft in 2019, says the council now “is deferring to the Teamsters on the best path” and suggested talking to Aloise. Even as gig companies are urging that other jurisdictions adopt the Prop 22 model, they’re also saying they’d rather make a deal.