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Gig Companies Thrive By Evading The Law

“This isn’t a battle to turn back the clock on technology and innovation, nor is it about denying worker freedom or employer control. It is about economic justice.”

Veena Dubal, associate professor of law at University of California Hastings College of Law

How Uber and Lyft are putting passengers in danger by choosing cheaper background checks for drivers

“The background checks used by Uber and Lyft to screen potential drivers leave large loopholes for a dangerous felon to give you your next ride.”

Shelly Brown, Associate Writer at CNET’s download.com

More Than A Gig: A Survey Of Ride-Hailing Drivers In Los Angeles

“Drivers are facing financial hardship. 44% of drivers report difficulty paying for work expenses such as gas, insurance, and car maintenance. 55% of drivers would prefer to earn a set hourly wage after expenses.”

Institute For Research On Labor And Employment. UCLA Labor Center

The Taking Economy: Uber, Information, And Power

“Sharing economy firms have the ability to monitor and channel behavior of all participants and may be using this capacity to everyone’s
detriment but their own.”

Ryan Calo & Alex Rosenblat Columbia Law Review

Driving for Uber When You Can’t Afford a Car

“In South Africa, extreme inequality means that drivers have a much more difficult time turning a profit with the ride-share service. Critics,…. along with many Uber drivers, believe that Uber unfairly profits at the expense of the workers who make its service possible in South Africa.”

Kimon De Greef, The Atlantic

Disruptive Transportation:
The Adoption, Utilization, and Impacts of
Ride-Hailing in the United States

  • “After using ride-hailing, the average net change in transit use is a 6% reduction among
    Americans in major cities
  • We find that 49% to 61% of ride-hailing trips would have not been made at all, or by walking,
    biking, or transit.”
Institute of Transportation Studies ◦ University of California, Davis

Uber and the labor market
Uber drivers’ compensation, wages, and the scale of Uber and the gig economy

“The Uber driver W-2 equivalent hourly wage is roughly at the 10th percentile of all wage and salary workers’ wages, meaning Uber drivers earn less than what 90 percent of workers earn. The Uber driver W-2 equivalent hourly wage falls below the mandated minimum wage in the majority of major Uber urban markets (13 of 20 major markets, which include 18 cities, a county, and a state).

Lawrence Mishel, Economic Policy Institute

A fund for NYC drivers models how benefits could work in the gig economy

“When you hop in an Uber or hail a cab, your driver is most likely an independent contractor, and thus unable to receive the traditional benefits and protections that many workers receive from their employer.

Natalie Foster, advisor to the Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative & David Rolf founding president of SEIU 775.

The Cost of Convenience:
Ridesharing and Traffic Fatalities

“Not only does the introduction of ride-sharing seem to not reduce congestion, it actually increases the number of car registrations by 3 percent. Most importantly, Barrios et al. find that the introduction of ride-sharing increases the number of fatal accidents by 3 percent (in the aggregate, this is equivalent to 987 extra lives lost every year in the United States alone).

John M. Barrios, University of Chicago, Yael V. Hochberg, Rice University and NBER Livia Hanyi Yi, Rice University

The gig economy is being fuelled by exploitation, not innovation

“The mistake made in so much of the debate surrounding the gig economy is to assume it is a modern issue caused by digital technology. It is not. Gig economy companies succeed because of how they apply, or fail to apply, long-standing and robust employment law.

James Temperton, WIRED Opinion

Americans Are More Vulnerable Than Ever, And The Gig Economy Isn’t Helping

“The gig economy, no matter its size, is a symptom of a larger problem: Workers aren’t making enough, and have nothing else to fall back on.

Monica Putts, Talking Points Memo

Uber’s utter disrespect for social and business norms

“The problem isn’t Uber or any other ride-sharing company. The soft spot is us as users of those services. Uber et al do only what we enable them to do. And whatever their sins, they’re only a symptom, not a cause, of our social architecture shattering into micro-particles.

Peter Stockland, Cardus

Uber’ Big Lie

“Uber’s business model isn’t based on new technology, but corporate greed and worker exploitation that has been aided and abetted by a political system that has failed to hold the company accountable to basic employment standards”

Chris Brooks, staff writer at Labor Notes

Uber and the False Hopes of the Sharing Economy

“While Uber promotes itself as a way for drivers to earn extra money to fund their dreams, in truth, most drivers in New York City work full time”

Ginia Bellafante, reporter, critic and columnist for the New York Times

Uber State Interference: How TNC’s Buy, Bully, And Bamboozle Their Way To Deregulation

“TNCs have successfully adopted state interference, an antidemocratic legislative practice favored by the gun and tobacco industries and popularized by the ultraconservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), in order to rewrite the law.”

Rebecca Smith, National Employment Law Project

Towards A Fairer Gig Economy

“Instead, the great marketing hype of new corporations in the ‘gig economy’ masks many new ways in which they exploit their employees. This is a great concern for the future of society, and especially for the well-being of us all as workers.”

Mark Graham & Joe Shaw

Uber drivers in Cape Town: Working conditions and worker
agency in the sharing economy

“Following this, the platforms dependency of network effects also affected drivers work, by
constructing the app in favour for riders over drivers. This forced drivers to adapt their work to
the demands of riders, constantly chasing good ratings and enduring racist and unpleasant
riders. “

A Thesis By Ine Geitung

Uber can’t be ethical – its business model won’t allow it

“Figuring that Uber’s app explains its growth is like putting the birthday cake’s appeal down to the candle on top. The engine of Uber’s growth to date has been the US$11.5 billion it has raised from banks and investors. “

Senior Research Fellow, University of Nottingham

Empty Seats, Full Streets
Fixing Manhattan’s Traffic Problem

“While hours spent transporting passengers showed a large
increase, unoccupied hours grew even more quickly. Taxis
spent 34,000 unoccupied hours in the CBD in 2013, decreasing
to 29,000 in 2017. Meanwhile, TNCs added 37,000 unoccupied
vehicle hours. “

Bruce Schaller Schaller Consulting

Labour’s gig economy fix shows why Uber and Deliveroo could be great news for workers’ rights

“Fix Uber, and you might just fix the whole taxi industry. This is a sentiment that rings true for the whole gig economy: for critics of the sector, the perceived worker exploitation is nothing new. What is new is that there’s finally an opportunity, and political will, to do something about it.”

James Temperton, WIRED

Uber as For-Profit Hiring Hall: A Price-Fixing Paradox and its Implications

“The point of this paper is that even if Uber is not legally the
employer of Uber drivers, Uber drivers ought to be permitted to engage in
price coordination so long as Uber is permitted to set prices.”


How Much Does an Uber Driver Make in 2018? [The Inside Scoop]

“Many of these rates are below minimum wage, especially after you factor in car costs and other driving-related expenses. It’s a pretty good bet they spend more than $0.34 in gasoline per hour. They also have wear and tear and depreciation on their cars that will eat substantially into their hourly earnings. In fact, at these rates, I would bet they’re not making any money at all, they are probably losing money every hour they drive.”

Staff: Ridester.com

A Catch-22 debt trap for Ola, Uber cab drivers

“I had to pay my cab EMI of ₹10,000 today, but the cheque has bounced as there were insufficient funds in my account. This is all because the company has reduced the per-kilometre fare paid to us and my cab is off-road the past week”

Kailash Korde, Hindustan Times

Uber’s Arbitration Policy Comes Back to Bite It in the Ass

“Over 12,000 Uber drivers found a way to weaponize the ridesharing platform’s restrictive contract in what’s possibly the funniest labor strategy of the year.”

Bryan Menegus, Gizmodo

It’s Not Technology That’s Disrupting Our Jobs

“But for the vast majority of workers, the “freedom” of the gig economy is just the freedom to be afraid. It is the severing of obligations between businesses and employees. It is the collapse of the protections that the people of the United States, in our laws and our customs, once fought hard to enshrine.”

Louis Hyman, Economic Historian and opinion writer New York Times

Subsidising Billionaires – Simulating the Net Incomes of UberX Drivers in Australia

“The implicit wage subsidy paid to Uber by its drivers, in the form of below-minimumwage
labour, is large relative to the overall fares and margins generated in this
business. It is equivalent to a subsidy paid to Uber (and ultimately its owners) by its
Australian drivers, that is worth hundreds of millions of dollars per year. “

Jim Stanford, Ph.D.
Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute

Disrupting Democracy
How Uber Deploys Corporate Power to Overwhelm and Undermine Local Government

“No single company or interest should have the power to use its wealth the way Uber does, overwhelming democracy’s deliberative and decision-making processes.”

Public Citizen

Uber And Arbitration: A lethal Combination

“The recently settled Uber litigation in California illustrates how under current law arbitration effectively extinguishes important worker rights.”

Katherine V. W. Stone, Economic Policy Institute

The Growth of App-Based Ride Services and
Traffic, Travel and the Future of New York City

“A continuation of TNC-led growth in travel is not a sustainable
way to grow the city. Adding TNC mileage to already congested
streets will lead to mounting costs for businesses
and consumers from increasing traffic delay and hinder
progress toward the City’s goals for mobility, economic growth
and the environment. ”

Bruce Schaller, Principal of Schaller Consulting

Beyond Disruption
How Tech Shapes Labor Across Domestic Work & Ridehailing

” As a result, we have shown that labor platforms create uneasy
trade-offs for workers, placing new pressures on them in ways that can
be harmful, while also providing them with avenues for appealing to weak
forms of accountability that may not have existed otherwise in informal
work arrangements. Platform policies and practices that create conveniences
for consumers may end up amplifying worker vulnerabilities.”

Julia Ticona, Alexandra Mateescu, Alex Rosenblat –  Data & Society

Disrupting Work Law: Arbitration in the Gig Economy

“The gig economy offers an important opportunity to grapple with the effects of IACs on workers’ and consumers’ low-value claims. So far, the results are troubling: while it is too early to say what is happening to drivers who pursue arbitration, it is apparent that IACs are impeding the development of answers to questions about drivers’ employment status, and significantly reducing the value of workers’ claims in litigation.”

‘Gig’ economy may not be the way of the future after all

“Research by Uber’s chief economist, Jonathan Hall, and John Horton of New York University found that when Uber raised its fares, drivers initially earned more money. But there were offsetting effects: The higher rates attracted more drivers while reducing the number of trips consumers made. Overall earnings for drivers soon fell back to their previous levels.”

The meteoric rise of Uber and Lyft may have spurred a deadly outcome, according to new research

“The arrival of ridesharing is associated with an increase of 2-3% in the number of motor vehicle fatalities and fatal accidents…”

Opinion | Ola, Uber drivers’ strike exposes the legal gaps in the aggregator business model

“Considering the frequency of strikes, the legal ramification may only be to appreciate the legitimacy of drivers’ struggles and giving them their due recognition as a ‘worker’ under the law”

Editorial: Hop a New York ride, Chicago, and demand a better deal for Uber drivers

“Our city and nation don’t need another gig-economy industry that makes a small percentage of top executives and investors extraordinarily wealthy by exploiting the labor of ordinary workers.”

The Editorial Board of the Chicago Sun-Times

How the Gig Economy Profits Off of Desperation

“So if the gig economy is characterized by low pay, a lack of benefits, and a predatory relationship where the business risks are burdened by the worker, why aren’t workers abandoning it? Simple: they have no other options. The gig economy isn’t about helping people who are being left behind; it’s about exploiting them because they have to accept whatever work they can find.”

Paris Marx, The Bold Italic

The Myth of the Sharing Economy and Its Implications for Regulating Innovation

“States and communities have struggled to protect consumers through regulation of ride-sharing and short-term rental companies such as Uber and Airbnb, because these businesses have successfully used rhetoric and their users to perpetuate a “myth” that their mission is primarily altruistic.”

Amy Stemler, Emory Law Journal


“Private ride TNC services (UberX, Lyft) put 2.8 new TNC
vehicle miles on the road for each mile of personal driving
removed, for an overall 180 percent increase in driving on
city streets

Bruce Schaller, Principal of Schaller Consulting

Sweated Labor: Uber And The Gig Economy

“We fear that, until such proposals are set in train, a growing number of people in this country will find themselves being subjected to ‘sweated labour’ – toiling through anxiety and insecurity, for unsafe lengths of time across seven days a week, in return for poverty pay.”

Frank Field & Andrew Forsey, Members Of UK Parliament

Will the Growth of Uber Increase Economic Welfare?

“This paper lays out the economic evidence showing that Uber has no ability — now or in the foreseeable future — to earn sustainable profits in a competitive marketplace. The growth of Uber is entirely explained by massive predatory subsidies that have totally undermined the normal workings of both capital and labor markets. “

Hubert Horan

The Online Platform Economy in 2018
Drivers, Workers, Sellers, and Lessors

“The growth in the supply of drivers has come alongside a 53 percent decline
in transportation earnings.

J P Morgan Chase & Company Institute

Uber Driver Lawsuit Shows How A Lack Of Power Enables Income Inequality

” Employees — or contractors — found themselves in a difficult position. They are expected to sign documents giving an employer broad protection when it often is impossible to tell in advance how bad things might be in a systemic way at a company. You only learn when it’s too late.

Erik Sherman, Contributor Forbes

Study: Uber and Lyft may be making traffic worse in the Denver metro area

” He found ride-hailing accounts for an 83 percent increase in the miles cars travel in the metro. Henao said a combined 34 percent of his passengers would have taken transit, walked or bicycled if ride-hailing didn’t exist.

 University of Colorado Denver Ph.D. graduate Alejandro Henao.

10 Reasons Why the Gig Economy is Broken

” One way or another the free market has found a convenient feedback loop where both the consumer and labor are taken advantage of by the gig economy.

Jack’s Raging Bile Duct, RHYD

Breakingviews – Hadas: Six economic reasons to hate Uber

” The second group of economists who should dislike Uber are specialists in labour markets. They know that the standard early industrial practice of pushing down wages as far as possible is bad, for the affected workers and for the whole economy. Uber, however, has not learned the lesson. Its drivers get a rough deal.

Edward Hadas, Financial Columnist

Uber’s Policies Put Consumers At Risk

“Uber misleading its customers is not only unethical but also unsafe — users of this service need to be made aware of the potential dangers.

Annie Diaz, The Signal