Hamilton Nolan, Splinter:
After a monumental political battle, California passed AB5, a law that will make it much harder for gig economy companies to classify their workers as “independent contractors.” Now, the same political battle is coming to New York. That means it’s a perfect time to hear from Uber and Lyft drivers, in their own words.
When California was considering its bill last month, we asked Uber and Lyft drivers, who are the most visible class of gig employees who would be directly affected by these changes, to email us and tell us about their working conditions. Hundreds did. As New York wrestles with the same questions, let’s hear from more of the people whose lives could be changed.
Given that drivers pay for fuel, increased-wear-and-tear on their vehicles, and insurance, this simply isn’t a very profitable enterprise for individuals — or, seemingly, the companies they work for. I’m also not convinced that it’s particularly effective as an occasional gig for people to pick up a little extra cash: if there’s a collision, an insurance company could deny coverage if the driver has typical auto insurance instead of commercial insurance, for example.
On a related and upsetting note, Splinter is shutting down. Nolan, the author of the linked piece about gig economy drivers, wrote a very relevant and thoughtful piece last year about private equity’s pitfalls.