Business News: Uber and Lyft scrapped after Biden’s labour secretary said drivers should be employees..
Shares of Uber Technologies Inc., Lyft Inc. and other “concert work” companies fell sharply Thursday after US Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said concert workers should be classified as employees.
“We are looking into it, but in many cases gig workers should be classified as employees,” Walsh told Reuters in an interview. “These companies are making profits and revenue and not (I’m going to) envy anyone for it because that’s what we do in America … but we also want to make sure that success gets to the worker.”
These appear to be Walsh’s first public comments on the classification of gig-workers, an increasingly important issue that has far-reaching implications for the future of work and for what have become some of the nation’s most famous companies.
“Uber believes we should promote policies to improve independent work, not eliminate it entirely,” Uber said in a statement. “But more important than we think is what drivers think: survey after survey shows that the vast majority of app-based workers want to remain independent, because it allows them to work when, where and how they want with a non-traditional flexibility they can match. . We have put forward proposals that would add new benefits and protections to self-employment and we are ready to work with the administration, state legislators and the people who work on our platform to make it a reality. “
“The Dashers have overwhelmingly told us that they value the flexibility to earn when and how they choose,” Elizabeth Jarvis-Shean, VP Communications and Policy at DoorDash, said in a statement. “This is why they only work an average of four hours a week, and exactly why we are committed to protecting their independence while providing greater security and benefits. We look forward to continuing to work with the Biden administration and lawmakers across the political spectrum to help shape modern policies that preserve worker flexibility and create a new, portable, proportional and flexible benefit framework. “
Walsh, a former union leader, is expected to bring more teeth to US labor laws under the administration of President Joe Biden. Biden himself said during his presidential campaign that he would “stop employers from intentionally misclassifying their employees as independent contractors.”
Gig worker classification has become even more of a sticking point in the past year as the coronavirus pandemic has wiped out the demand for ride-hailing for months. The giant companies don’t pay into the states’ unemployment insurance systems, and drivers could only collect unemployment benefits under the federal pandemic unemployment assistance program.
Walsh, who said his department would talk to concert companies about workers’ pay and benefits, told Reuters: “If the federal government didn’t cover gig economy workers, those workers would not only lose their jobs. , but they wouldn’t have received unemployment benefits to keep their family going … we would have a much more difficult situation across the country. “