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Is Uber The New SPECTRE?

In Ian Fleming’s series of spy novels, his English hero James Bond battles a new kind of threat to the United Kingdom, and perhaps the world:  A smart, technology adept, centrally controlled, global criminal organization, SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion). Their global members wear the network’s octopus symbol and follow the instructions of a cat-loving mastermind Ernst Stavro Blofeld. In 2010, a new organization, UBER came on the scene in San

Uber’s Ever Elusive Source Of Profit

Uber’s founder Travis Kalanick’s first transportation scheme was Uber Cab which started in San Francisco in 2010. It was not really a taxi service but an automated way to hire limousine service vehicles at a moment’s notice. He got his idea from a fellow named Kevin Halpern, a New Yorker who saw that city’s black car services sitting idle in the middle of the day after getting their clients to work in the morning. Kevin had

California’s Bamboozled State Government Dumps Rideshare Problems On Cities.

As Transportation Network Companies Uber and Lyft grew their fleets across the U.S., they mobilized huge lobbying efforts to get states and cities to create new, unrestrictive rules and regulations. The lobbyists argued that new technologies made current rules and regulations obsolete. Their efforts were quickly rewarded as nearly all the targeted states codified the TNC’s new business model with lax standards and little or no oversight. But soon, this new business formula presented cities

When $8.55 an hour is not $8.55 an hour

The Broken Calculator The Uber driver wage report issued by researchers from M.I.T. and Stanford University in February 2018 was recalculated March 5th and now reports that the median wage for Uber drivers in the U.S. is $8.55 an hour after average projected car expenses. Unfortunately, the authors of the report compare the earnings to minimum wages across the U.S. without accounting for the broader expenses and acute risks of using a personal car in

The Sad Labor Lesson Of Pooper

Two entrepreneurs discover the smelly side of the gig economy. In July of 2016 two witty marketing professionals created a slick website and a polished video announcing a new on-demand service called “Pooper.” The Pooper app would allow dog owners to use a smartphone to post a picture and location of their dog’s poop after it was deposited, and a gig-economy worker would come around and pick it up so they didn’t have to. Pooper

Uber’s Nifty Workers Comp Insurance Carrier: GoFundMe

Different Cities – Same Dilemmas Detroit Uber driver Modou Diagne, 41 was shot and killed by his drug dealing passenger on March 20, 2016 . He is survived by his pregnant wife Batal, like himself a Senegalese immigrant, and their three children, all under the age of 6.  “He was working all the time, no days off. Sometimes 19 hours a day” said his niece, Fatima Diop. Not only did his family lose its only source of income

Season Of The Switch

In his 2012 book, “Season Of The Witch” author David Talbot chronicles the decline of San Francisco’s flower children scene of the 60’s into hard drugs, violence and crime. Within a few short years, a counter-culture revolution that promoted egalitarian values, shared assets and experimentation became a caricature of itself and then turned ugly. Fifty years later another revolution in was born in San Francisco with similar optimistic values of sharing and common purpose. This modern revolution

Where Is The Cesar Chavez Of The Rideshare World?

ARBITRATION AGREEMENT + CLASS ACTION WAIVER + INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR STATUS + IMMIGRANT WORKFORCE = THE PERFECT STORM OF EMPLOYEE EXPLOITATION Philip Macafee   In the spring of 2016, the rideshare company Lyft got an important court victory in a California lawsuit. It agreed to settle a class action lawsuit over the misclassification of its drivers as independent contractors for $26 million. The agreement importantly avoids the reclassification of the drivers as employees. The attorney representing

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