UBER CEO Calls On Trump, Congress To Protect Independent Contractors Now And In The Future

24 Mar, 2020 Liz Carey


San Francisco, CA (WorkersCompensation.com) – The head of Uber is asking Congress and the Trump administration to not forget gig workers now in the face of COVID-19, and in the future.

Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber, asked President Donald Trump and Congress to ensure gig workers were considered in the federal government’s COVID-19 economic stimulus package in a letter to the President and leaders in Congress yesterday. Khosrowshahi also asked that after the current crisis was contained that lawmakers and gig companies work together to ensure gig workers have access to worker benefits without them having to become employees.

The letter highlighted what Uber is doing to protect its drivers and its customers, as well as to help healthcare systems and those in needs.

“The uncertainty caused by COVID-19 is being felt everywhere. It has already created deep concern and hardship for many of the 1.3 million Americans working on Uber’s platform. Drivers and delivery people are on the front lines of keeping our communities running, helping get food to those staying home and providing essential transportation services to those who must move around.,” Khosrowshahi said. “That’s why Uber led our industry in offering up to 14 days of financial assistance to active drivers and delivery people who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed in individual quarantine by a public health authority due to their risk of transmitting COVID-19. We are also taking other measures to protect the health and well-being of everyone who uses Uber, including working to provide drivers with free disinfectant supplies, as soon as they become commercially available; waiving delivery fees for Uber Eats orders from more than 100,000 independent restaurants; and regularly communicating important safety tips to our customers, including reminding Americans opening the Uber app that they should only travel if necessary.”

Because Uber drivers and other gig workers are considered independent contractors and not employees, they do not qualify for things like workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits or paid sick leave. Although legislation passed in California last year would reclassify gig workers as employees in most cases, Uber and other gig economy companies have vowed they would fight any legislation that made their drivers employees.

So, as Congress moves forward with a more than $1.8 trillion economic stimulus plan, many Uber drivers will lose out on benefits; some components of the bill are rumored to be requiring companies to pay for sick leave and strengthening unemployment benefits for workers displaced because of state and federal reactions to the coronavirus pandemic. 

But Khosrowshahi wants to go one step further, he said in his letter. 

“We firmly believe that the protections and benefits afforded independent workers, who today represent a large and growing portion of the workforce, must be strengthened. We are ready to do our part, but we need new laws to let us take bolder action. Two years ago, I joined labor and business leaders to call for a new approach that would give independent workers the ability to protect themselves and their loved ones if they are injured at work, get sick, or when it’s time to retire,” he said in his letter.

As of last night, Congress had not passed an economic stimulus. 

The Trump White House did not comment on Khosrowshahi’s letter, nor did Trump make any mention to it in his daily briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic.

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    About The Author

    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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