New Fight In The Courts About Gig Economy Work For Lyft & Uber

This past Tuesday, a group of drivers for Uber and Lyft has filed a class-action lawsuit out in California over alleged extremely anti-competitive practices that impact a large section of gig economy workers.

Both of the rideshare firms “label their drivers independent contractors, yet deprive those drivers of economic independence by fixing the prices that drivers must charge to customers for rides,” as stated in the lawsuit that was filed by the legal nonprofit, Towards Justice, which made the argument that the drivers would have made far more money if they had even just a little bit more freedom in regards to their pricing.

“Uber and Lyft have insisted that they do not employ their drivers,” stated the executive director of Towards Justice, David Seligman, as part of a press release. “But if Uber and Lyft are not employers responsible to their employees under labor standards laws, then they are powerful corporations that fix prices, abuse their power, and deceive the workers who drive their profits.”

Going past the alleged price-fixing, the plaintiffs made the argument that Lyft and Uber have been taking larger and larger portions of the actual total that the riders pay for the service.

In a ruling handed down two years ago, one court in California went in favor of Lyft and Uber in a lawsuit that would have forced the two firms to start classifying its independent contractors as actual employees. The most recent suit against the rideshare titans also takes place just a single year after Democratic lawmakers introduced the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which sought to close in the definition of an independent contractor hiding behind the guide of giving them more protection.

“Big Labor incrementally attacks any form of gig work, or contracting, and they come for ride sharing companies first,” stated one freelance media strategist and Townhall columnist who is known for their writing about the gig economy, Gabriella Hoffman. “If you poll rideshare drivers, however, they voluntarily go into this line of work and enjoy the flexibility that comes with the job.”

Uber put out a poll back in 2020 that highlighted that its drivers wanted to stay as independent contractors when they were offered a series of benefits by the company, as reported by Axios. Another poll in the same vein from Lyft also highlighted that many of their drivers wanted to keep their contractor arrangements.

In 2021, Pew Research discovered that just about 16% of Americans –including 30% of Hispanics, 20% of African Americans, and 12% of whites–  have taken part in work in the gig economy, such as delivering and shopping for groceries, delivering packages, and cleaning houses. Many young Americans and those with lower incomes are more likely to try and earn money via the various gig platforms.

“Independent contracting liberates workers from the constraints of traditional work — including unionized jobs,” Hoffman claimed. “Workers want more flexibility and freedom to be more fulfilled in their careers. … Freelancing, as a whole, is a pro-family, pro-free enterprise, pro-free market policy that empowers individuals. And it’s a great option for women who juggle career and family.”

 

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