New York City, Los Angeles, Gavin Newsom discussed on Pro Rata

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Welcome back is pro rata a podcast takes just ten minutes to get you smarter on the collision of tech business and politics. I'm Denver MAC on today's show. What Super Bowl ads taught us about big tech and the fallout over President Trump's executive time the first all hell breaks loose with Uber and lift drivers last week. Dozens of Los Angeles ride held drivers protested outside the local office of California governor Gavin Newsom delivering what they called a driver's Bill of rights. It's reminiscent of what we've seen elsewhere in the country demand. The drivers get a bigger cut of rider fees and more transparency and protections around win drivers are kicked off or suspended from the platforms. There's also nascent interest in unionizing drivers nationwide. Now to be sure this plays into a much broader political movement surrounding workers rights and income inequality, particularly from the democratic party's insurgent progressive flank, and there has been some legislative action taken such as what basically amounts to a minimum wage for drivers in New York City. It also comes just as Uber and lift or preparing to become publicly traded comes. VIP IPO's most likely before the summer now, neither company is overall profitable. And the Los Angeles driver demands would effectively have lifts per ride revenue and cut Uber's by sixty percent. The bottom line is that gig economy workers have become such an established part of America's labor market that they're beginning to flex their muscles. At the same time, though such flexing could cause companies like Uber to accelerate their own development of technologies like Thomas driving, which would leave these same drivers out in the cold in fifteen seconds. We'll go deeper with an organizer of those Los Angeles protests. The first this axiom chief technology correspondent Dana free shares. Breaking news and analysis on the most consequential companies players in tech from the valley to DC subscribe to get smarter faster at sign up dot axios dot com and now back to the program to podcast. Joined now by Alex Carbone, one of the organizers of the Los Angeles protests, we discussed earlier, so Alex let's just get some background here on you a little bit. How long have you been driving for Uber and lift I don't driving since early twenty sixteen. Is it something that you feel has been a job that you have made fair money from fair money compared to what the writers are being charged. No, I I never really did. I mean, I started doing it because my employment was running out kind of thing. And I just needed something. And it happened to be a time when the bonus for starting was really high, and so I had some friends or driving and they were like you should jump on this. And so I did and I had to drive basically fulltime three months to get that first bonus. So that first three months was like pretty good, you know, because I've made that money, and then got a huge bonus at the end of it. And then after that, I saw the rates precipitously dropping, and there's a lotta manipulations that they do what does that mean? Because I know top line, for example, when when you go to their websites to lift websites. They'll say for drivers are. Gonna get I'm gonna mess this editing lifting. Uber going to take twenty or twenty five per cent cut of every ride, but it's more complicated. Right. Right. That's backwards. Actually. I mean like average I get fifty percent any short ride they take half of. And then if it's a longer ride, it's better. But it really depends on the formula the formula that they use if you're sitting in traffic, you hardly get any money. So those are really really lose out. And I've had people show me ride where they were Uber took seventy five percent with the how much transparency is. There's obviously, you know, how much money you technically get compared to what the field was. But how much transparency do you guys get into how that calculation is made? You know, they're always changing it. That's one of the things that they'll change it. You might get an Email about it. It's really hard to find the details, and it's pretty confusing right now all the time. And but there is for each ride. If you click into the app, you can see exactly what the person paid. And what you're cut is. But the thing is that the writers can't see that. And that's a big problem. That's one thing that we're demanding. Because we think that people knew how little we were getting paid. They would you know kit better. Or or understand? And and you know pressure for us to talk about that in the demands. And what your group is asking for more transparency as you just said what else kind of what's on the I don't even want to call a wishlist or demand list? But what's on the list? Yeah. Well, we call it a Bill of rights. So that's what we delivered the governor Newsom on Wednesday. And what we really want to see is fair pay. We want an hourly minimum of twenty seven dollars and eighty six which is what they demanded ultimately got in New York, we want to have transparency. So we want the drivers to know where they're going and how much they're gonna get before they accept the trip because I to be, you know, independent contractors and have no say in how much money were getting for each. They're like, we don't really think that that reasonable. You know, that's not the relationship that it should be. And we also want the passengers to see the fair you said twenty seven Eighty-six at minimum wage and said, that's what they got New York. What am I missing? I thought New York was seventeen what I've read is twenty seven eighty six is the hourly minimum well, but they're going up to and they're actually fighting back on that. Who knows if that will go through, but that's really minimum. Uber. Lifts response. To this in general and kind of higher driver fees or higher driver payments is going to be and maybe they won't say quite this explicitly. But these are both money-losing companies neither one of them turns a profit they're going to publicly announce that soon when they tried to go public. So give the argument from your point of view, which if Uber and lifter already losing money on most rides. Why should they be paying more? Well, they're spending plenty of money on lobbying. Okay. They have spent like the numbers that they're blowing have been dizzying. They have spent more than a million dollars loving, New York, mayor de Blasio and a city council and only the first six months of twenty seventeen that's soon city clerk records, they spent six point seven million lobbying officials in New York in twenty fifteen they spend five hundred thousand dollars per quarter in Washington DC. They got over two million dollars just in Austin. So you know, what they're doing is. They're going in and they're changing the laws by essentially lobbying officials sometimes illegally they had to pay ninety thousand dollars. They're find by Chicago for illegally lobbying Rahm Emanuel there. So basically, if they're using all this money to flout labor laws. And taxi driver regulations which have been in place because they know what this needs to look like in order to function properly in a city, and that's what the taxi driver have always fought for. So they're using their money to flout those laws, and so if they have money to do that they have money to pay the driver's taxi drivers are often unionized. Do you think it's realistic? And I don't mean what you want. But I mean pragmatically realistic that there could be a nationwide or even maybe regional unionization of right-hand-drivers. Yeah. I mean, that's the route that we are on right now, we have twenty five hundred people in organization. We're grassroots driver lead. I'm a driver organizer. And you know, that's what we're on. We have brought our concerns to governor Newsom because we know that Uber in lift are throwing money at him right now to try and flout the new dynamics decision, which you know, basically is cracking down on misclassification of workers to pay them less by ten ninety nine. So we're trying to say, hey, we voted for you. We are the people three live in a democracy or do we live in a billionaires playground like defend us. We shouldn't be going out for twelve hours and coming back to eighty or one hundred fifty dollar paycheck. And you know, how that goes to gas the maintenance anyway, because you guys aren't you know, Uber employees or lift employee said ten ninety nine you're effectively contractors, at least that's how the law treats, you is there an example of folks in a similar sort of job class, actually, successfully unionizing, non employees, basically, you know, that's really a complicated spot because that's what the courts have basically said is that we're not contractors? We should be in place for you're not currently employees. You're simply just not when you do your taxes in April when we do our taxes, we're not but a year ago, they changed they made a mandate. But we shouldn't be classified that way. Nobody's done anything about it. Autonomous driving or self driving cars are on their way, not tomorrow or the next day. But, but maybe, you know, within several years from now, how do you kind of view the long-term existence of ride? Hell drivers if we are in a self driving relatively near future. That's always been there. Stated goal to get rid of the drivers. You know? I think they're in for rude awakening when they realized they have to park all these cars, they have to maintain all these cars. They have to have somebody right now. The drivers are taking care of all that for them Carbone. Thank you very much for joining us. My final to read after this axios gives you the news and analysis you need to get smarter faster on the most important topics in our unique smart, brevity format. We cover topics from politics to science and media to tech subscribe to get smarter faster at sign up dot axios dot

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