Uber’s Chief Counsel Argues That Drivers Are Not Integral to Its Business cnbc.com

Annie Palmer, CNBC:

Uber and Lyft maintain that AB5 won’t immediately change independent contractors into employees. Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer, said on a call with reporters that the bill builds on legal tests already established in California around how drivers should be classified. West said drivers may not necessarily fall under the new rules laid out in AB5.

“Under that three-part test, arguably the highest bar is that a company must prove that contractors are doing work ‘outside the usual course’ of its business,” West said. “Several previous rulings have found that drivers’ work is outside the usual course of Uber’s business, which is serving as a technology platform for several different types of digital marketplaces.”

That’s not the impression Uber gave in its S-1 filing (emphasis mine):

Our success in a given geographic market significantly depends on our ability to maintain or increase our network scale and liquidity in that geographic market by attracting Drivers, consumers, restaurants, shippers, and carriers to our platform. If Drivers choose not to offer their services through our platform, or elect to offer them through a competitor’s platform, we may lack a sufficient supply of Drivers to attract consumers and restaurants to our platform.

Too vague? How about the voiceover at the very beginning of their partner app tutorial?

Welcome to Uber. Drivers are our most important partners.

I could do this all day.