Democracy Gone Astray

Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.

All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.

[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Steve Wozniak Just Blasted Uber For Poor Treatment Of Workers

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak just threw some shade at Uber.

On Monday, at the Future Transport Summit in Sydney, Australia, Wozniak denounced the ride-hailing company’s disputed labor practices and critiqued what he sees as its monopolistic ambitions, according to Mashable.

“Like a lot of people, I have some distrust of Uber and how their drivers don’t really realize at first that they aren’t making much money, maybe losing money on the wear and tear of their cars,” Wozniak told reporters at the summit.

“That’s how I think of Uber: Not very nice thoughts,” Wozniak added.

David Rohrsheim, general manager of Uber in Australia, responded to Wozniak’s remarks by noting that Uber drivers have a job with rare flexibility.

“It has to be a good deal for partners or otherwise they won’t use the platform,” Rorhsheim told Mashable Australia.

Wozniak isn’t alone in criticizing the app. Class-action lawsuits filed by Uber drivers in California and Michigan argue that the company wrongly classifies its workers as independent contractors, allowing it to drive down their wages and withhold benefits. As contractors, drivers are exempt from minimum wage requirements and don’t receive certain state and federal benefits. Both lawsuits contend that Uber drivers are, in fact, employees, a designation that comes with greater labor protections

Wozniak added that he’d prefer to use Lyft from now on.

Lyft, which is Uber’s main competitor in the U.S., agreed in January to expand benefits for drivers. Lyft drivers can no longer be fired at will and have the right to settle termination and pay disputes through arbitration. Despite those gains, Lyft drivers, like Uber drivers, are still considered independent contractors.

Wozniak told reporters he’d also like to see more competition in the ride-sharing market. “I would rather there be a lot of competitive forces,” Wozniak said. “I’d like there to be four or five choice that are like Uber anywhere you go.”

The Woz might get his wish. Several new ride-sharing services are scheduled to hit roads soon. Chariot for Women, which launches Tuesday, is an alternative ride-sharing service with all-women drivers, exclusively for women. Another service, Juno, hopes to become Uber’s mirror opposite. It’s drivers will not only have employee status, but will also get equity in the company, in addition to several other perks.

Despite his concerns about Uber, overall, Wozniak isn’t too worried about the sorts of economic changes Uber represents.

“You might come up with a new technology and some old jobs disappear and there are robots building cars,” he said. “Well, the jobs pop up somewhere else. The economy just shifts, it moves.”

Original Article
Author:  Casey Williams

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