Why are we just now boycotting Uber?

Thousands of people across the United States are protesting outside airports after President Trump signed an Executive Order temporarily banning travelers, including refugees, in seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. This New York Times piece breaks it down in an easy-to-swallow pill.

Over the weekend, taxi drivers of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance staged a one-hour strike from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. At 7:36 p.m., Uber sent out a tweet letting customers know that it would turn off its surge pricing.

People didn’t take kindly to Uber’s move, suggesting it undermined the strike. Furthermore, it was a meaningless gesture considering Lyft pledged to donate $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union. On Twitter, the hashtag #DeleteUber started going viral and people everywhere began boycotting Uber.

Really? This was the line that was crossed?

Uber has a history of misclassifying employees as independent contractors, a problem that is also prevalent in the trucking industry. What Uber and many trucking companies try to do is hire drivers as independent drivers rather than employees. By doing this, they avoid paying overtime, paying for lunch/breaks and voids them of having to offer any kind of benefits, among many other reasons.

Last April, Uber agreed to a $100 million settlement regarding misclassification lawsuits. Why didn’t people who are protesting Uber because of Trump’s EO boycott the company then? Assuming current boycotters are left-leaning individuals, it doesn’t seem very consistent. The idea that a corporation should be forced to pay employees as such is a very Democrat, liberal idea. Uber’s hiring tactics were anti-liberal, but many of the liberals boycotting them today had no issue with this pro-business/anti-worker stance.

Speaking of liberal ideals, Democrats and liberals are generally pro-regulations. The idea is that companies cannot be trusted to do the right thing, so federal/state/local regulations keep corporations in check while keeping the public safe.

Uber has had a complete disregard for government regulations. In December, I wrote about Uber’s refusal to abide by California self-driving permit laws. In nearly every city in which Uber begins to launch its service, it refuses to pay for certain taxes and licensing fees. Additionally, they refuse to have an adequate training program that taxi services abide by. In result, Uber has been accused of unfair practices that drive taxi services out of business, an issue that liberals and Democrats historically have railed against.

How many current Uber protesters boycotted them then?

And what about Uber’s treatment of journalists? Back in 2014, an Uber executive suggested they hire a team of people to dig into the personal lives of journalists who opposed Uber. A very Trump-like stance.

Of those boycotting Uber over Trump’s EO, how many boycotted the company over those remarks?

So what did Uber do to piss off anti-Trump protesters? They offered rides to people needing to leave or enter airports after the taxi strike was over. Some saw this as an attack on the protests and strikes.

Combine that with the fact that Uber is part of the business coalition set up by President Trump, a decision that many are not too happy about. As Uber’s CEO pointed out, his participation in that group puts him in a position to start change, something he plans on addressing in an upcoming meeting.

As with most boycotts, the latest Uber boycott is terribly misguided and highlights contradictions and hypocrisy among those participating. Uber has committed many anti-worker, anti-liberal business tactics, but this was the line?

By the way, Lyft is also guilty of all the anti-worker practices that Uber has committed? Is a $1 million donation enough to forgive them? Considering they saved more than $100 million by misclassifying drivers as independent contractors, I’d say no.

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One thought on “Why are we just now boycotting Uber?

  1. Thank you for enlightening me on those other facts about Uber. Seems that they were a company that was reprehensible from the start. Now the spotlight will be harsher on Lyft and Gett.

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