New Jersey’s $650M attack on ridesharing takes workers out of the driver’s seat

New Jersey’s Department of Labor slapped Uber with an astronomical $650 million fine last month. Why?

It seems the state has decided that Uber drivers aren’t contract workers, but rather, employees. For those very drivers, it was shocking news.

So it goes, the Garden State taxed Uber, seeking to morph Uber drivers into employees. The government, too, is looking to backdate that change so that the company owes the government income taxes from its previous years of operation. But this forced reclassification threatens a thriving marketplace that has served both riders and drivers tremendously. It’s the same kind of initiative that’s been tried on the West Coast — this year, California passed a law that will reclassify as employees a huge number of contractors across the state.

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Coalition Letter Supporting H.H. 4069 - The Modern Worker Empowerment Act

Coalition Letter Supporting H.H. 4069 – The Modern Worker Empowerment Act

NetChoice request to reconsider New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission Promulgates rules on HVFHS

9th Circuit Decision Scores a Big Win For Ridesharing Drivers and Riders of Seattle

Washington D.C. – NetChoice applauds today’s 9th Circuit decision in US Chamber v City of Seattle.  The Court struck down Seattle’s 2015 ordinance as it violated antitrust laws.  Had it been allowed to stand, Seattle’s Ordinance would have enabled collusion by ridesharing drivers and empowered them to form cartels and collectively bargain against ridesharing platforms.

“This is a victory for riders and drivers in Seattle’s ridesharing industry,” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice. “The peer-to-peer economy relies on flexibility without which many drivers would have fewer options to make ends meet.”

“Without this decision, Seattle riders would expect higher prices and drivers could lose flexibility in choosing when and for whom they work.  We’re happy the 9th Circuit has rejected this ordinance and preserved the positive impact of ridesharing in Seattle.”

NetChoice Opposition to Rhode Island HB 7606 – Mandatory Fingerprint Background Checks for Rideshare Drivers

NetChoice Opposition to Rhode Island HB 7606 – Mandatory Fingerprint Background Checks for Rideshare Drivers

NetChoice Opposition to Mississippi HB 222 – Short Term Rentals

NetChoice Opposition to Mississippi HB 222- Short Term Rentals

The regulatory landscape facing ride-share drivers

Technology has given us more freedom to choose the way we work, live, travel, and shop.  But many Americans are hitting bureaucratic roadblocks on their way find full-and part-time work with peer-to-peer services like Lyft, Postmates, and Handy.  These roadblocks are not just bad for workers, but also for consumers, commerce, and the tax revenue that comes with it.

Some of these roadblocks are intentionally created by incumbents trying to prevent competition.  But others are just legacy rules and laws that impede the fast-moving trend of workers moving into more flexible, freelance forms of employment.

READ More at Capitol Weekly

Seattle shouldn’t try to force unions on Uber, Lyft drivers

As a father with two kids and full-time job, I love the fact that I can choose when and where I want to drive for Lyft. But an ordinance in Seattle could change the face of ridesharing as we know it. And not just for the Emerald City, but for the entire nation.

Fellow drivers in Seattle are in danger of losing many of the freedoms that make ridesharing so appealing. Drivers no longer would be able to work when, where and how long they want. They could be forced into legally binding agreement that mandate minimum or maximum working hours and limit their shifts to certain days or set times.

READ More at The Hill

PAWatchdog – Ridesharing roulette: Philadelphia commuters still dealing with the dinosaur

PAWatchdog – Ridesharing roulette: Philadelphia commuters still dealing with the dinosaur

But Steve Delbianco, executive director of NetChoice, a trade association that advocates policies promoting online commerce, points out that Philadelphia taxis continue to enjoy a monopoly on pick-ups from street hails, which is why they must meet certain requirements that TNCs should not.

“That brings certain obligations, including service for disabled passengers,” Delbianco said in an interview with Watchdog. “Any company that sets up a service is not able to serve everyone. Entrepreneurs who drive for Lyft and Uber can’t meet requirements for disabled access vehicles. The taxi commission is at this point grasping at straws to prevent competition.”

If two dueling regulatory bodies weren’t enough, now the state legislature might be about to enter the fray.

A bill to establish consistent TNC regulations is on the table at the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

“The PPA might want to be in denial of the future, but the General Assembly has a firm grasp on how to enable tech to serve citizens,” Delbianco said. “They know how to strike the right balance on regulation and innovation.”