You know, I really do not mind Travis Kalanick’s vision for the future. I think the “autonomous car” is out there on the horizon just waiting to prove itself a contender in the transportation market. I have little doubt that it will be a very efficient system and transportation of persons will become less confusing and cumbersome as time goes on. Eventually, Gorge and Judy will find a place in the reality of our lives (How many of you caught that? If you didn’t you are still to young to play this game.)
Nope, actually think some of Kalanick’s vision for the future is quite cool and has a lot of potential for being a brilliant success. Like I said, I do not mind most of Kalanick’s vision for the future. It is what he is doing today that is truly causing the harm. You see, the drivers can accept that somewhere down the road, they will be replaced by the autonomous car of the future. This is going to happen regardless how hard we fight to stop it, and we know it. So, why even try to fight future progress. What the drivers do not appreciate is their financial stability, their future being destroyed by Kalanick when it is not necessary to do so to bring the future changes into play. That and the fact that Kalanick’s efforts to bring about the future are making Uber less today than it was yesterday.
Some of the drivers to be effected by Kalanick’s future have been driving for years. Some years longer than Uber has been in business. So how do you destroy the livelihood of probably more than 10 million people without harming those 10 million people. Kalanick’s method is to destroy the jobs themselves, to make the jobs so lacking in benefit and compensation that the drivers will not want to continue as drivers. Doesn’t this idea lack a little corporate responsibility? How can any business in the United States today consider causing even a single person to lose his livelihood. We need real jobs out there. We need jobs that support our families, keep a roof over our heads, and pay our bills. There is not a single person today that looks forward to being unemployed without future opportunity to look forward to. But, this is the future provided for in Kalanick’s future.
So, why hasn’t the Government or Corporate America stepped up to the plate and asked what about the workers displaced, what about their families, and what about their futures? I am dead serious. As the Mayor of any major city in the US, what are you going to do about 50,000 or more families suddenly without jobs, without incomes to support themselves, and angry because you as the Mayor did not have the foresight to see the devastation such loss of employment will cause them?
Now is the time to ask Mr. Kalanick what he plans to do about this situation before it becomes more harmful than it already has. Why hasn’t the government discussed the future of America with Mr. Kalanick to ascertain if there should be a program for retraining drivers affected by Mr. Kalanick’s future vision. Isn’t there a little bit of corporate and social responsibility involved here that requires something be offered the more than 10 million people that will suddenly find themselves unemployed so that Mr. Kalanick can realize his vision? Should not the Government get involved to insure the financial impact realized by the local government agencies not too seriously impacted? Think of the impact 50,000 families would impose upon local resources should they all seek welfare services within the same month.
Now to what really frustrates me about Mr. Kalanick’ future vision . . . Mr. Kalanick did not ask me if I wanted my financial future destroyed to participate in his vision. Mr. Kalanick did not ask me if I wanted to work for less than minimum wage while participating in his vision. No, Mr. Kalanick advertised that I could earn 5k per month working for Uber in San Francisco. So I bought a car through Mr. Kalanick’s Uber Auto Purchase Program and went to work for Uber. The very next month Mr. Kalanick reduced the rates paid to drivers. I had no input into his decision, nor was the topic raised for discussion with me. This first rate reduction provided the inability for me to support the auto I had just purchased. Since that time, I have on multiple occasions advised Mr. Kalanick that his decision had adversely impacted my ability to profit from our relationship and since that time I have been in a negative earnings status.
Mr. Kalanick has chosen to “race to the bottom” to drive costs for using Uber to the lowest rates possible. While this is a great idea for the company, it has proven to be more than many of the drivers can bear as the lowered driver pay is inadequate to support the drivers earning a real income. This is not acceptable and un-necessary. Uber does not need to adversely impact drivers financially to achieve the desired result. Uber has the money and needs the tax write-offs to have absorbed the race to the bottom as a sales expense write-off, and retained reasonable driver earnings. Presently Uber’s compensation to drivers is borderline criminal and the future will determine how much this will cost Kalanick and Uber.
The biggest failure Kalanick and Uber face at this time is what the cost of not paying drivers a reasonable rate is actually costing Uber. Anybody that drives, rides, or observes Uber can tell you that Uber has changed for the worse. Everything that the consumer hated about Taxi Cabs is becoming the reality for Uber. And this is the most costly for all concerned. It does not matter how well Kalanick’s vision pans out if the name “Uber” keeps losing popularity because Kalanick does not see the need to take care of the workers until the end. In reality Kalanick should be treating the drivers as best friends, paying them well, and providing opportunities for their future. The drivers wanted to be part of Uber when they hired on, will work through until the need for drivers is no longer, and realize when it is time for them to go, it is time to go. Not providing them the opportunity to grow a nest egg, provide future employment, or any kind of reasonable income is the reality the drivers face today. This will cost Uber and Kalanick for the future and the court of public opinion will be in favor of the drivers. Kalanick is making Uber just another Cab Company instead of keeping Uber the “cool” it should be and that is both a shame and a significant loss for Uber.