Uber Muddles The Jobs Argument

Posted on April 28, 2015 by - Also by this author

We should be used to Uber’s bag of tricks by now in trying to derail any legislation that tries to hold them accountable and puts them on an even regulatory level.

The most amusing has been the “we are a technology company” line as they roll thousands of branded vehicles around the world summoned by an app.

Now, the latest strategy is to gather a group of Uber drivers and hold rallies about how certain proposed rules will “cause us to lose our jobs.” This is a common self-pitying political strategy: When you get desperate, just wheel out alleged victims to grab some sympathy. Except, in the case of Uber, the tactic falls too short of clever and ends up being transparent.

First, we’re not talking about actual jobs, as in W-2-level part- or full-time employment. Uber drivers are independent contractors, not employees. So losing a job really means losing a flexible gig. It’s like a bar band that has its weekend house sets cancelled. Yes, you are still losing work, but not a classic job.

Secondly, the legislation they claim will deprive them of their livelihoods pertains to rules and policies that apply to taxicab drivers, chauffeurs and limousine operators ― many of whom work actual jobs or own the companies that provide them. This legislation also would protect the traveling public.

To contend this legislation forces Uber drivers to lose jobs is like the owner of a food truck complaining about how public health and food safety rules will ruin his business: “We're a food truck, not a restaurant, so we don’t need to worry about vermin, salmonella, and listeria.”

I have the perfect solution for these Uber drivers: Apply to be a real chauffeur! As anyone circulating among limousine operators knows, it’s hard to find and keep qualified chauffeurs, even in this lackluster economic recovery. A recent LCT feature article proves to what lengths operators are going to hire good chauffeurs. And you can work part-time if you prefer.

So these Uber drivers have no need to be jobless, provided they can pass criminal background checks and respect chauffeured transportation industry quality standards.

Here again, we see Uber trying to deceive through political rhetoric, i.e. “free markets,” “technology company,” “consumer choice,” etc,. to pursue its selfish ends. Sorry, but if Uber can’t operate under the same decent, common sense standards that govern its ground transportation competitors, then these are so-called “technology jobs” we can risk losing.

I'm glad I could resolve this issue. Now, on to my next job, I mean, consulting gig. . .

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