Here is some of todays gig economy news September 17th, 2021:

  • [QUARTZ]:  In the complaint, filed in February, Mellen claims that, on the afternoon of February 20, 2016, Dalton trapped him in the car (or, “kidnapped” him) and hit a passerby. The suit reads: …the two barreled down crowded Kalamazoo city roads at break-neck speeds. Matt Mellen yelled for the UBER driver to stop, to pull over….pull over!…to let Matt out. Then a dead-bang impact. The UBER driver smashed into a totally innocent person/people in a car that was in the wrong place….then the UBER driver kept going…unfazed as if nothing had just happened.   Mellen contacted 911 but was unable to reach Uber’s 24/7 incident report line, the suit says. Soon after Mellen attempted to contact Uber, Dalton fatally shot a father and son at a Kia dealership, as well as four people at a Cracker Barrel. He also shot and critically wounded a 14-year-old and a mother protecting children at an apartment complex.   The complaint says that Mellen’s guilt and inability to stop the gruesome attack has given him post-traumatic stress disorder… [read full article]
  • [Rest Of World]:  At the end of 2018, when it was a little less than 10 years old, Uber announced that each month more than 91 million people were using its services to order taxis or takeaways around the globe. It’s a remarkable number. But a second number also stood out: that the company could count on 3.9 million drivers. Not a single one of these drivers worked for Uber. They were “gig workers.” They didn’t have an employment contract with the firm but, rather, were paid, in a roundabout way, for every customer they drove or every freelance gig they completed.   Uber offers a neat demonstration of how we get work in the exponential age wrong. For all the talk of mass automation — talk that Uber, with its much-hyped self-driving car program, is all too keen to promote — the company has created millions of jobs. But there is something unusual about these jobs. Uber is one of the biggest companies to use networks of freelancers, rather than contracted employees, for its primary business operations. It isn’t a small company by any means — it has more than 20,000 employees, none of whom are drivers. Yet for every full-time employee, there are nearly 200 drivers working anything from a few hours a week to 10 hours or more a day. Uber has demonstrated that platform-based gig work can function at an enormous scale. These new working arrangements, rather than automation, raise the trickiest questions relating to employment in the exponential age… [read full article]
  • [Newsweek]:   Lyft has suspended one of its drivers over video showing her kick out a passenger onto the side of a busy highway, before yelling at him: “F**k you and f**k your mother too.”  Passenger Aaron Swetland later told local TV that there had been a sudden “change in tone, in attitude” of the driver and urged others to “be cautious of your surroundings.”  In the clip, Swetland asks the driver to slow down. The driver turns to say “I’m saying I’m gonna go-,” before noticing she is being filmed and attempting to grab Swetland’s phone.   The driver screams at the passenger to get out of the car, to which Swetland agrees if she opens the trunk that contains his suitcase.   The driver exits the vehicle and throws Swetland’s bag across the road, before yelling the abuse at him and leaving him stranded on the side of the road… [read full article]
  • [MarketWatch]:   After Proposition 22 passed in California last year, gig companies vowed to try to expand what they call an independent contractor-plus model everywhere else.  But a recent California superior court ruling that Proposition 22, the most expensive ballot measure in state history, is unconstitutional and unenforceable may put a wrinkle in the plans of Uber Technologies Inc. UBER, Lyft Inc. LYFT, DoorDash Inc. DASH and others. Or so their opponents hope.   “The decision in California creates a huge political problem [for the companies],” said Mike Firestone, director of the Coalition to Protect Workers’ Rights, a group formed to fight the gig companies backing a Prop. 22-like initiative in Massachusetts, where gig companies got the necessary certification this month to start collecting signatures for the measure they want to put on the ballot for next year’s elections.   “They don’t think they can convince the legislature to gut civil and worker protections, so they will try to convince voters through a campaign of misinformation and cynicism,” Firestone added. “Now they’re going to try to convince voters to pass a law that’s been struck down as unconstitutional.” … [read full article]
  • [VICE]:   In the lawsuit, Mellen claims that after escaping Dalton’s car, he and his girlfriend spent over an hour trying “desperately to connect with Uber and its 24/7 on-call response team” to alert them to Dalton’s erratic driving and get him deactivated. They were unable to reach the team, the lawsuit alleges, and Dalton was never deactivated. Shortly after, he shot his first victim―Tiana Carruthers―in an apartment complex where Uber had assigned a passenger to him.   In a bizzare exchange with detectives, Dalton claimed that the Uber app turned him into a “puppet” and that a horned devil with a cow head appeared on the phone to give him orders. “When I logged onto site [the Uber app], it started making me feel like a puppet,” Dalton told detectives… [read full article]

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