What does this mean for Uber & Lyft Drivers . . . ?
Absolutely Nothing! Say it Again! . . . Alright it does mean little. What the Judges have done is pass this to the Court for a trial with a Jury to decide upon. The Judges in both cases found that there was enough question in determination of if Uber/Lyft Drivers were/are Independent Contractors or employees, to forward the case to trial allowing the jury to decide the questions. The end result going backward will likely be a “dime on a dollar” settlement for the drivers and one hell of a pay day for Attorneys. But, from the decision forward is another thing altogether for the drivers.
Subsequent to the final decision, it will be “Contract” time for drivers. If it is determined that the Drivers are employees, those that wish to be employed by the Ride-Hail companies should quickly Unionize to get a representative at the bargaining table to represent drivers in hopes of acquiring a contract beneficial to the drivers. Those that still want to work with the Ride-Hail companies as Independent Contractors should immediately join an Association to provide similar representation. The choice should be simple for drivers, either seek representation or don’t seek representation. Failure of drivers to seek representation could derail any efforts to ensure their voices heard regarding their future contract.
In the interim, rate cuts have drivers struggling to survive and a majority of them angered about it. Numerous web sites and FaceBook Groups are non-stop complaints of wrong-doing by one company or another, and it is hard to understand why. I mean for both Uber and Lyft, their only income is generated by drivers. They do not have a second income except by investment. So, why would you “shit” on your food source? (I apologize for the use of the word, but no other word seems to describe the situation.) Uber has Uber Logic which believes, “Work twice as hard, pay twice the expenses, to get half the pay you had yesterday, while Uber doubles up on Rider fees. You actually have to do the math to see how this works out, but it usually brings the Uber Driver to a negative income while doubling Uber’s income from the drivers efforts. Uber claims to have created over 162,000 worthwhile jobs and today these jobs are worthless as few of the drivers are making even minimum wage for their efforts. Uber’s use of their advertising saying Uber Drivers make a good living are lies generated by selective data mining that misleads the consumer and the drivers.
What I fail to understand is why? Why is it necessary for Uber to dump on their drivers? What goal do they hope to achieve? How does intentionally treating your only income earning workforce benefit you as a Company? The claim of dropping rates to create an even larger ridership, does not make sense as Uber could have dropped Rider fares without impacting Driver Rates. Any loss to Uber could have been written off as Sale Expense or some other reason for tax deduction and everyone would have been happy. The idea of “Racing To The Bottom” in hopes of pushing Lyft into failure appears not to have worked out as I believe Lyft’s hold on the market is improving instead of failing, largely because of drivers dissatisfied with the poor treatment being dished out by Uber.
Regardless of which way the aforementioned Court decisions go, drivers need to pay attention and join a Union or Association that will provide them representation for the future so they don’t end up with a contract like they presently have which provides absolutely no benefit to the drivers. Uber Drivers have never had any form of representative sit at the table with their contract writers who have consistently disregarded any clause beneficial to drivers and/or drivers right to negotiate such contract. That in itself, may be a damning evidence in Uber’s claims that Uber Divers are Independent Contractors if it is raised as an issue in the Courts. An Independent Contractor should always have the right to negotiate his contract or at least have the opportunity for an Amendment be added to the contract if a situation arises that requires modification to the contract. This could be as simple as fuel price increases require a increase in driver payment, but the right to negotiation in situations where the Independent contractor has no representative acting in the drivers behalf, the Company should have acted responsibly to every request for contract negotiation made of them.
These two Court cases may very well cause serious harm to Uber & lyft. But, if Uber & Lyft choose to offer an out of Court settlement to the class-actions, they may be able to side-step disaster of themselves as well as save a lot of money. The only protection the drivers would have then is the hopes a representative was able to get in to the table as part of the settlement, because if such is not built into such settlement, drivers not ready with a representative and enough strength to push their way to the bargaining table likely will not make it there.