Uber’s national push over gig worker status has been underway for months – By Dara Kerr (CNET) / Nov 19 2020
Even before its Proposition 22 win in California, Uber was emailing drivers in other states about a plan to keep them classified as independent contractors.
Jason Schaal was sitting at home in Minneapolis last month when he opened his phone to check his email. Among the messages was one from Uber bearing the subject line, “Make your voice heard.” It said the US Department of Labor was hammering out countrywide rules “to determine the independent status of gig workers” and asked Schaal to comment on the plan. As an Uber driver, Schaal said he found the persuasive tone of the email unsettling.
“One of the top reasons you drive with Uber is the flexibility,” read the Oct. 22 email, which was seen by CNET. It asked Schaal to share a few sentences about being an independent contractor, giving prompts like “the ability to balance other jobs” and “earn extra money as a student, caretaker or retiree.”
Schaal, who does full-time gig work for Uber, Lyft, Instacart and Shipt, clicked the link in the email, which took him to a comment page on the Department of Labor’s website. He opted not to leave feedback.
“As I read that email, one of the impressions I got is that Uber is going to put their spin on things,” Schaal said during a phone interview. “It’s almost manipulating to persuade drivers to comment with Uber’s point of view.”