Press Release 8/13/20: Spoiler Alert: Uber and Lyft Have Always Used Shutdown Threats to Bully Their Way to Higher Profits at Drivers’ Expense
Sacramento, CA – After the Los Angeles Times reported on Uber and Lyft’s threat to shutdown California operations rather than comply with a judge’s orders to follow the law, the No on Prop 22 campaign released Uber’s record of bluffing its way out of fair treatment of drivers in jurisdictions across California. Spoiler: Uber has returned to reap its profits from drivers’ exploitation time and again.
Jurisdictions Where Uber has Threatened to Leave, But NEVER Did:
● New York – In 2015, Uber threatened to leave New York City over a dispute with the City Council, but never left.
● Austin, TX – In 2016, Uber and Lyft threatened to leave the Austin, TX market if local voters failed to approve a measure it put on the ballot to loosen background check restrictions. The companies returned just six months later.
● Chicago, IL – In 2016, Uber threatened to abandon the Chicago market to avoid having to comply with the city’s licensing regulations, and Lyft joined in. Neither company ever left.
● Phoenix SkyHarbor Airport – In February this year, Uber and Lyft threatened to stop picking up at Phoenix’s SkyHarbor airport if an increased airport pickup fee was allowed to stand. The fee went into effect on May 1 of this year. As of today, neither company has left the market.
“Using the livelihood of countless workers and their families as a political bargaining chip is a grim but all-too-familiar ploy for Uber and Lyft,” said Art Pulaski, Executive Secretary Treasurer of the California Labor Federation. “Uber and Lyft are sitting on billions of dollars in cash on hand that they could use to follow the law immediately and reclassify their workers as employees. Instead, they’re going back to their tired playbook of threatening the very workers whose tireless efforts have turned app executives into billionaires. Time and again in other states we’ve seen these threats evaporate as soon as the companies get what they want. In California we stand for workers and what’s right: an equal playing field for all. Voting NO on Prop 22 will finally hold these companies accountable to doing what so many other profitable businesses in California do every day– following the damn law.”
Earlier this week, after being ordered by a judge to immediately comply with the law requiring Uber and Lyft to treat drivers as employees, Uber’s CEO went back to an all-too-familiar scheme. He ran to cable news, announcing the company’s plan to put hundreds of thousands of drivers out of work just to avoid having to pay them fair wages and benefits like healthcare, paid sick leave, and unemployment insurance. The threat is a clear attempt to bully voters to support Prop 22, the initiative the companies wrote and paid to get on the November ballot to exempt ONLY APP companies from the very same law the judge ordered them to follow.