I suggest that it would serve all of us that drive for the ride-hail services benefit were we to write our local Congressman, that we believe there need be more regulation of the Independent Contractors position of employ as it is being abused. Although not included in the Fair Labor Standards Act, the FLSA itself never intended for workers to be employable for less than minimum wage jobs while corporate America avoids paying their due.
You see the use of the Independent Contractor was never expected, nor intended to provide an employer the ability to create a below minimum wage employee. The position of Independent Contractor was intended for companies to have employees/other business to provide specific services to the company at fair market value for the job performed. The ability of the employer to have an ever-changeable pay rate was never considered by the authors of the FLSA, nor was the FLSA written with the intent that a position be made that would circumvent the provisions of the FLSA. Today all across America Uber Technologies and others have decided to use the position of Independent Contractor to pay all of their Independent Contractors below fair market value for the task performed.
As an Independent Contractor, the Worker is a Small Business. And, as a Small Business the Worker needs to be paid fair market value for his services in order to be successful. Corporations today are not providing compensation at fair market value but way below and lying to the Workers by providing statistics that do not demonstrate the correct data to convince the Workers they are earning far more than they actually are. In the case of the ride-hail drivers this is being done both for recruitment and retention of drivers, and it is all a lie. By the statistics utilized by the Companies involved the drivers have to work for numerous hours uncompensated to receive the earnings claimed by the companies.
The ride-hail companies use trickery to confuse the drivers into accepting the companies valuation. The company tells the driver that he has worked only the hours of which the driver has a rider in his car, and only pays the driver for the time a rider in the drivers car. This may amount to less than 50% of the drivers work hours and significantly less in the miles driven by the driver during his work day. The driver’s actual work day starts from the time the driver leaves his driveway to the time of his return, so long as the driver is active on the system and capable of accepting riders. And, this is the part that requires government regulation. The failure of these companies to recognize the start and stop of the workers work period is one provision of the FLSA that needs to be extended to cover Independent Contractors. And, a provision needs to be added to the FLSA that states that the Independent Contractor is to be paid Fair Market Value for the services provided.
America has long ago passed laws which protect the American Worker from the misuse and abuse of the many corporations and companies that would profit from such abuse. Today, companies such as Uber have used the term “New Technology” as a means of side-stepping the protections afforded the American Worker and have actually turned the clock back to years past before Unionization began. Back to a place in time when Workers didn’t believe they were entitled to a piece of the pie. Everyone working the ride-hail services needs to write their Congressman and ask for this regulation of the Independent Contractor position.
One of the problems with the new economy, is it fails to consider the human equation so long as humans are part of the equation . . .