AB5! eat shit uber

> Senate lawmakers passed a controversial bill, known as AB 5, on Tuesday evening, after months of uproar from businesses and gig companies like Uber and Lyft. The bill will require businesses to hire workers as employees, not independent contractors, with some exceptions. That will give hundreds of thousands of California workers basic labor rights for the first time.

uber, ab5, worker exploitation 

uber’s c-level, wearing sunglasses and kickflipping over your broken-down car:

> drivers’ work is outside the usual course of Uber’s business, which is serving as a technology platform

uber is going to fight tooth and nail to exploit its workers as much as possible

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re: uber, ab5, worker exploitation 

uber's c-level, throwing accounting books into a bonfire: we were never at fault. the market made us do it. we were only following orders.

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@garbados this goes into my brain under the category of "wait why was this not already how it's set up"

@ben yeah really 🙃

the NLRB even issued a decision that intentionally misclassifying employees as contractors to avoid paying them due benefits is fine, actually, in what seemed like a preemptive strike against AB5.

What power does nlrb have? I haven't heard about them until your message.

@garbados @ben If I understand your comment correctly, then the fact that it's toothless is actually a good thing in this case, yes?

@loke @ben no, it's a bad thing, because labor laws go unenforced and workers go unprotected

@loke @ben the enemies of labor 1) control the NLRB 2) want the NLRB to be toothless

but that's a pretty common problem in US government

@garbados @ben So the problem is two-fold? One is that the they are toothless, and the other one is that even if it wasn't toothless, their decisions fly in the face of labour protection?

Seems like they need to be replaced altogether. But that's not something that seems likely in the current US political climate.

@loke @ben as we say in the states, "we are trapped in the belly of a beast that is bleeding to death" 🇺🇸

@garbados @ben I've always found it interesting how so many people in the US tend to vote against their own best interests. I've hear arguments that the propaganda is really strong there, but that can't really be the whole story?

@loke @ben it’s complicated. the propaganda is really strong, like hundreds of years of social conditioning and flagrant information manipulation with a fully complicit media sphere, and you rarely get the opportunity to vote *for* your interests because neither reigning party actually cares about anyone but their donors. were folks voting against their interests by voting for trump? yes. and for clinton? also yes, but to a more polite and normal degree.

@garbados Also I read today that Uber fired like 440 people after reporting "losses running into millions".

@tagomago in Q2 they lost ~$5 billion. those layoffs are intense.

uber, ab5, worker exploitation 

@garbados That phrase “usual course of business” blows my mind. They are seriously arguing that they are an app developer who accidentally supports independent taxi drivers.

Also, best argument yet that ALL uber drivers need a taxi medallion.

re: uber, ab5, worker exploitation 

@tsturm haha, you don't drive FOR uber! you, uh, drive, um, THROUGH uber! yeah, that's why, uh, you don't deserve a living wage. yep,,

re: uber, ab5, worker exploitation 

@garbados I can’t wait for the day when Uber goes into bankruptcy because one of their big investors gets cold feet and takes their cash out.

re: uber, ab5, worker exploitation 

@tsturm haha yeah

is it weird i'm afraid that would trip a recession

re: uber, ab5, worker exploitation 

@garbados @tsturm oh god

not directly, but I actually could see it, given the taxi services and mass transit service they've supplanted

it's actually kinda impressive how quickly they've made people utterly dependent on them

positive take re: uber (not the company itself) 

@garbados @tsturm ...tbh, I think the whole thing with Silicon Valley Disruption™ is an example of just how effective some forms of direct action can be, if it serves an underserved or unserved need in a society.

Uber and Lyft are evil, don't get me wrong, and I'm not defending them.

But... they correctly saw demand for transportation that didn't involve the anxiety and danger of people owning their own cars, had higher availability and better customer service than existing taxi systems, and better perceived safety and more flexible routing than most mass transit systems.

...might be worth looking at how easily they toppled taxi systems (illegally but with minimal consequences), to try to topple them and serve communities, workers, and the environment better.

re: positive take re: uber (not the company itself) 

@garbados @tsturm (Or, in other words... instead of screwing around trying to get Republicans to vote to fund public mass transit systems... can we somehow just do it ourselves?)

re: positive take re: uber (not the company itself) 

@bhtooefr @tsturm hmm

i hear your point but they were able to navigate the terrain in unique ways relative to a community-based solution because investor capital let them 1) dodge laws, like taxi medallions 2) run at a loss, which taxi groups couldn't

like, Radiocab is a taxi coop in portland where every driver has a stake in both the company and the car they drive. they have an app that ties into the dispatching system, so it's more or less just like uber but with a union. but uber can still beat them on price, on marketing, etc, etc, because they're flush with investor money.

what's frustrating about this kind of "disruption" is how it's only possible through massive capital shocks, which either create and entrench unregulated players (facebook, twitter) or cause the market to implode after the shock recedes (dot-com bust and all the affected industries). no community can execute a massive capital shock.

re: positive take re: uber (not the company itself) 

@garbados @tsturm ugh

you're right, but ugh

(I could see ways to implement the capital shock without turning to traditional venture capital, but it won't be the community that it serves, it would effectively be a political group of sorts backing the venture focusing on one town to dethrone the incumbents there, to prove demand for a service? And then when the venture runs out of money, try to get it socialized.)

re: uber, ab5, worker exploitation 

@garbados @tsturm I mean, I could even get that argument if Uber worked like AirBnB or Turo (where you set the price, giving them a cut in exchange for their advertising, scheduling, payment collection, and various arbitration and insurance services).

But they really don't, they act as an employer, dictating all of the terms of the transaction.

re: uber, ab5, worker exploitation 

@bhtooefr @garbados Totally agree!

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