Uber, which lost $3 billion in 2018, operates on a business model that depends on classifying drivers as independent contractors, freeing the company from the costs of health care, pensions and other employer benefits that would be tied to the employment of millions of drivers. According to Brendan Sexton, chief executive of the Independent Drivers Guild (funded in part by Uber in a work compromise to gain a foothold in the economy and defend workers): “It took us more than two years to win our battle for a minimum wage and only a few months before apps found a way around the rules by manipulating driver access to apps.” In response to these changes, Uber and Lyft initially tried to complain about cancelling these labor gains. When that strategy failed, Uber followed the workers themselves. The company aggressively backed down by restricting drivers` access to the app so they wouldn`t pay them wages while they were inactive in their vehicles and forcing drivers to sleep in their cars to meet the newly imposed quotas, which favored the most active drivers. On Twitter  Recently, the cantonal government of Geneva conducted a new legal analysis of Uber`s operations, and Head of Government Mauro Poggia claimed that Uber`s services are subject to taxi rules and, therefore, the company will have to expect a ban if it does not reclassify its drivers as employees and regulates the situation by paying taxes and other rules. See www.swissinfo.ch/eng/uber-faces-ban-in-geneva-if-it-fails-to-hire-drivers/45340404. Mamadou Allou Bah, 45, has alternated paint taxis and yellow cabs since 2003 and joined Uber in 2014 because of flexibility. Like other professional drivers with 25 years of professional experience in the industry, he finds no contradiction between his rights as a worker and the flexibility to drive. He wants Uber to treat him like a worker, because the company makes money by driving: “Without a driver, there`s no Uber or Lyft.”  As Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber, explained in his letter to investors, the company began to roll. Subsequently, it expanded to other services such as ridesharing and carpooling, food deliveries, electric scooters and bicycles, driverless cars and helicopter rides. See investor.uber.com/a-letter-from-our-ceo/default.aspx).
While Uber has become the dominant example of the debate between independent contractors and employees in California, this issue concerns businesses of all sizes and sectors. On July 30, 2015, the California Court of Appeal issued a ruling that an employer had misclassified its employees as independent contractors. In Garcia v. Seacon Logix, Inc., the court found that truck drivers were employees and not independent contractors, primarily because the trucking company they worked for controlled the “way and means of their work.” Despite the challenges posed by a legal strategy against a deep-pocketed company and a fierce public relations arsenal, drivers continue to organize and work to define themselves as employees. This means rejecting Uber`s business model that conceals the working relationship in exchange for a parade of marketing conditions – entrepreneurs, customers, partners and independent contractors for legal purposes.