Tech

Workers’ cooperatives trying to compete with Uber and Lyft

For years, Uber and other ride-hailing companies have been Entrepreneurial promise To the driver. Drivers who wanted to set their own schedule signed up in large numbers, pushing the gig economy into a multi-billion dollar industry.

However, some drivers did not get the control and independence they expected. They struggle with vehicle maintenance, loans and insurance costs, Uber and lift I paid a fair wage.Legislative efforts to give them employment benefits Interfered..

Dissatisfied drivers and supporters of workers are now forming worker-owned co-operatives to regain some of the money and power of the gig economy.

Driver cooperativeThis is the latest attempt to open in New York this week. Founded by a former Uber employee, labor organizer and black car driver, the group will begin issuing ownership to drivers in early May and will launch a ride-hailing service through the app on Sunday. is.

The co-operative has so far recruited about 2,500 drivers and will charge riders lower fares for less than Uber and Lyft. This is an ambitious plan to challenge the ride-hailing giant and faces the same hurdles that tend to block other start-ups in the industry. Established a company like Uber.

Still, drivers who participated in this effort said that even small co-operatives could make a big difference in their jobs, make more money and give them a say in how the company operates. The co-operative said it would pay more than the usual 10%. minimum wage Set by the city’s taxi and limousine committee, the profits are returned to the driver in the form of dividends.

In normal times, higher wages may attract drivers to co-operatives. But these are not normal times. Many drivers are hesitant to return to the road because of a pandemic, creating a national shortage.

In this month’s earnings report, Uber 3.5 million active drivers And the number of courier companies in the first three months of this year decreased by 22% from the previous year. The company aggressively increased spending on bonuses and incentives, and called for its efforts.StimulationUber said in March that New York City drivers earn an average of $ 37.44 per hour.

But if driver supply recovers, Uber’s wages are likely to fall. The founder of the driver co-operative said that when members of the group received wages for regular ride-hailing services, they had a hard time keeping up with their costs. A Uber spokeswoman commented on the co-operative. Rejected.

“We are constantly working to improve the driver experience on the platform and share the goal of enabling drivers to work efficiently and independently,” said Julie Wood, a spokeswoman for Lyft. doing.

Due to the economic stress caused by the pandemic, workers want to use co-operatives as a means of countering existing businesses and raise wages, Ariana R. of the University of Louisville Brandy’s Law of Law.・ Professor Levinson said. ..

Organizing gig workers is difficult, but Levinson said he has formed a small food delivery and vehicle dispatch co-operative. “Independent contractors are taking advantage of the co-op model to organize themselves and compete for living wages,” she said.

“I’ve never seen a driver’s thirst for this change. Every deal reveals exploitation,” said union organizer and driver co-operative founder Eric Four. Mann said. “They feel that the way to regain control is to have control and ownership of the platform.”

Forman has started a partnership with Alissa Orlando, a former head of Uber’s business in East Africa, and Ken Lewis, a black car driver in New York City. Orlando said he left Uber after witnessing drivers protesting over salary cuts.

During the pandemic, she began investigating the co-operative as Uber and Lyft drivers struggled to get unemployment insurance and proper protective equipment. Lewis and his brother worked in the taxi and black car industry, but dreamed of running their own business.

The Drivers Cooperative receives technical and business support from volunteers in the technology industry, Orlando said.

The co-operative aims to raise driver salaries and address other common concerns such as predatory lending rates and restrictions on the use of apps that connect with passengers. Is also aimed at. The group hopes to partner with the Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union to help drivers refinance their mortgages, further reducing costs.

In 2017, Uber $ 20 million fine We worked with the Federal Trade Commission to resolve allegations of misrepresenting driver income and loan terms. The company no longer offers mortgages.

Drivers say they are most likely to continue driving for gig companies and black car services, in addition to driver co-operatives, adding to the array of mobile dispatch and delivery apps.

“Working with Uber is because you have no other choice,” said Michael Ugwu, who has been driving at Uber for six years. Ugwu said he would continue to drive at Uber, but prioritize customers who requested a ride through the co-operative app.

“Having your own business is both a step forward and a way,” Ugwu said. “Even if you have a small income, focus on co-operatives to succeed.”

Other groups of workers are also looking to co-operatives to exert greater influence in the gig economy.Is Driver’s seat cooperativeFounded in 2019 and operating primarily in Denver, Portland and Los Angeles, it helps drivers collect industry data on the most profitable ride-hailing and delivery apps and holds an independent record of revenue. I will.

“The starting point for this was to hear the driver’s frustration and their feeling of being manipulated by the algorithm,” said Hayes Whit, CEO of the Driver’s Seat. The platform reports to drivers in different ways. Drivers have a hard time assessing what is best for them. “

According to Witt, driver’s seats are aimed at marketing traffic and traffic data to the city, but the city has little transparency from gig companies about its environmental impact. The co-operative will also begin membership with drivers later this year.

“People are trying to understand,’How do we maintain the value we are creating and turn away from this super-extracting model?'” Witt said. “This is happening because the real problem is happening and the co-operatives provide the real solution.”

Drivers Cooperative founder Lewis said drivers like him wanted to create apps like Uber since Uber was introduced, but didn’t know where to start. Like the delivery co-op, some efforts have begun nationwide, Loco, New York didn’t have a place for them to go.

“Drivers will say,’Why couldn’t we do this on our own?’” Says Lewis. When the opportunity to join a co-operative came, he thought: Let me make the last effort. “

Workers’ cooperatives trying to compete with Uber and Lyft

Source link Workers’ cooperatives trying to compete with Uber and Lyft

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