In some ways, Uber and Lyft are back to square one.
With federal regulators set to tighten Trump-era labor standards that let Uber and Lyft, as well as food-delivery services like Doordash, treat gig workers as independent contractors with few protections under labor law, shares dropped sharply last week. But while a shift, the Department of Labor proposal doesn’t immediately transform gig workers into employees entitled to overtime pay, unemployment insurance and other benefits.
What’s clear is that the ongoing conflict over how these on-demand companies treat their drivers isn’t going away, since an estimated one in six Americans has worked in the gig economy in one way or another. Analysts and pundits following the rideshare industry think the future holds some series of compromises that will give drivers at least limited benefits — a model known as independent contractor-plus — with some believing that the Biden administration’s pro-union stance will lead to workers being classified as employees eventually.
Both solutions would be likely to raise Uber and Lyft’s costs — and create a different business model for the entrepreneurs using their cars to run, in effect, small businesses of their own. And each highlights the unrealized promise of ridesharing business models: The absence of self-driving cars that investors once believed would make profits at the companies soar and put most drivers out of business.
Continue reading Is the Uber, Lyft and gig economy battle over workers nearing its end game? on CNBC
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