The Ultimate Losers are the very people the Bill Claims to Protect. Politicians and Lobbyists Win a Hefty Payday, and California becomes Techs’ greatest adversary as innovation finds a new frontier
On Monday, the State of California’s legislature takes up a bill that could reclassify Uber and Lyft drivers as employees. This adds to a series of measures aimed at the industry for which the state is known….Tech. The so-called gig economy bill, which entitles gig workers (also known as independent contractors) to better wages and full-time benefits, poses a potentially dangerous threat not only to gig workers themselves but to the labor market, opportunities brought on by technology and allocation of capital and innovation.
California, specifically the Bay Area, is known for increasingly mounting housing costs, taxes, and being one of the most financially unfriendly places to live and or conduct business attributable in part to the burgeoning tech industry, as well as consumer-privacy and antitrust concerns. This adds to many reasons there is an ongoing brain drain, and emigration happening in California.
Who wins and who loses with this measure?
- Politicians: Between colluding with unions to get their bloc votes, it goes without saying that the very same geriatrics who created the socio-economic issues are in charge of “fixing” it. Well, the “fix” is in. With this Bill, politicians can now grand-stand no matter how short-lived about protecting gig workers. While this makes for great sound bytes, this is a short term win. Those impacted will respond in the long term.
- Unions: This is the “I told you so” argument. Unions have tried endlessly to muscle into the gig economy to no avail. This “win” will only embolden unions. While unions serve a good purpose in terms of worker protections, the greater good unions serve has been bastardized by an unchecked foray into every possible economic engagement.
- Lobbyists: Again, it’s all about the money. Every lobbyist will now be looking to represent gig economy companies within the halls of power. The calls have been coming!… Billable hours: every lawyer’s racket.
- Lawyers: Of course….just remember, regardless of which side of the victorious or vanquished you’re on, the only people guaranteed to get paid are the lawyers. I have never hidden my disdain for this largely verminous group.
- Incumbents: The old guard. Cab companies, and unionized labor in the short term. Unfortunately, the cat has been let out of the bag so therefore any victory will be short-lived.
- Gig Workers: If you think the Unions have your interest at heart then you’re gravely deluded. A portion of every gig completed goes to the union, the rest is history. Furthermore, becoming a gig worker is a choice made by the gig worker. Your smartphone via an online platform is now earning you an income by choice, an income you didn’t have prior to joining the platform. Allowing populist narratives and self-interested politicians to use you for their own selfish ends has now left you out of a side gig. Deliveroo pulling out of Germany this week and leaving over a thousand gig workers out of a side gig should be a lesson. Then again….it’s California and politicians. Self-driving cars, autonomous delivery vehicles, and automation is coming….and you wonder why.
The only loser here is clearly the gig worker. Then again, give people a yard and they will surely take a mile, no matter how misguided. Nevada, Texas, Utah, The Carolinas, Africa, South America, Toronto among other regions are rapidly filling the gap.
Notwithstanding, as part of the overall measure, here are some of the positive additions to the California tech initiative:
- The California Consumer Privacy Act, giving consumers the right to prohibit the sale of their personal data to third parties.
- A state net neutrality law prohibiting internet service providers from allowing some content providers to stream for free.
- A law requiring online bots to reveal their “identity.”
#gigeconomy #gigworkers #phlatbed