‘I’m a Software Engineer at Uber and I’m Voting Against Prop 22’


    Kurt Nelson, a software engineer at Uber, writes an op-ed at TechCrunch: I’ve been a software engineer at Uber for two years, and I’ve also been a ride-hail driver. I regularly drove for Lyft in college, and while my day job involves writing code for the Uber Android app, I still make deliveries for app-based companies on my bike to understand the state of the gig economy. These experiences have made me realize a crucial factor in the gig economy: Uber works because it’s cheap and it’s quick. The instant gratification when we book a ride and a car shows up only minutes later gives us a sense of control. It’s the most convenient thing in the world to go to your friendâ(TM)s house, the grocery store or the airport at the click of a button. But it’s become clear to me that this is only possible because countless drivers are spending their personal time sitting in their cars, waiting to pick up a ride, completely unpaid. Workers are subsidizing the product with their free labor. I’ve decided to speak out against my employer because I know what it’s like to work with no benefits. Before joining Uber, I worked a range of low-wage jobs from customer service at Disneyland to delivering pizza with no benefits. Uber is one of several large companies bankrolling California’s Proposition 22. They’ve now contributed $47.5 million dollars to the campaign. At work, management tells us that passing Prop 22 is for the best because it is critical for the company’s bottom line. Yet, a corporation’s bottom line will not and should not influence my vote. Uber claims Prop 22 would be good for drivers, but that depends on Uber the company treating drivers better. […] As a software engineer, I have a very different experience working for Uber than drivers do. Being classified as an employee affords me benefits including healthcare, a retirement plan, stock vesting and the ability to take paid vacation and sick leave. Uber drivers are not afforded these benefits, since Uber misclassifies them as independent contractors. Since January 1 of this year, the law has been clear: Gig drivers should be classified as employees. Yet Uber refuses to obey the law and is now seeking to get Prop 22 passed so they can write a new set of rules for themselves. There’s a misconception that all Uber drivers are part-time. Maybe they drive as a fun hobby in retirement or pick up a few hours after class in college, as I did. These drivers exist, but the drivers who are essential to Uber’s business are full-time workers. Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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