[By Ryan Lovelace]
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi asked President Trump to help ensure any future economic stimulus plan comes with benefits for independent workers who make up the ride-sharing company’s labor force.
Mr. Khosrowshahi’s letter to Mr. Trump on Monday said that Uber drivers are not employees but independent workers, which means some of the proposed stimulus will not flow their way.
“My goal in writing to you is not to ask for a bailout for Uber, but rather for support for the independent workers on our platform and, once we move past the immediate crisis, the opportunity to legally provide them with a real safety net going forward,” Mr. Khosrowshahi wrote.
If drivers working with Uber are reclassified as employees, Mr. Khosrowshahi argued, they may enjoy more of the benefits in various relief packages deployed by the federal government, but they will lose the “key value proposition” of flexibility provided by ride-sharing companies’ platforms.
“Put simply, our laws should protect all workers, not just one type of work,” Mr. Khosrowshahi wrote. “While I recognize that the Administration and Congress have many pressing issues before them, I urge you to act quickly to provide protections for independent workers, and, in your ongoing efforts, to consider legislative action on a “third way” that would update our labor laws to remove the forced choice between flexibility and protection for millions of American workers.”
Mr. Khosrowshahi wrote that Uber was already working with state lawmakers and governors across the country to develop similar legislation at the state level. The ride-sharing company CEO also wrote that his company has mobilized to support the country as it manages the coronavirus outbreak, particularly by providing 300,000 meals to health care workers and first responders via Uber Eats and by moving 3,500 relief loads via Uber Freight in the last few weeks.