Aug 30, 2019

Tech companies vow to spend $90M to keep drivers independent contractors

Uber and Lyft logos in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are prepared to spend a collective $90 million on a ballot measure, vowing on Thursday to fight a California bill that would force their workers in the state to be treated as employees, rather than independent contractors, the AP reports.

What's happening: The companies are offering $30 million each to counter the state bill with a yet-to-be drafted ballot initiative that would give drivers health benefits, collective bargaining rights and earnings guarantees. Per the New York Times, the tech firms argue that "changing the legal status of their drivers poses a fundamental threat to their businesses."

Details: Uber is offering approximately $21 per hour as minimum wage to its drivers, a "portable benefits fund," and a process where drivers could have "legally recognized influence over decisions that impact their work" through "their own democratic process."

What's next ... As the AP notes, “We will meet the gig companies’ absurd political spending with a vigorous worker-led campaign to defeat this measure to ensure working people have the basic job protections and the right to organize a union they deserve under the law,” according to Steve Smith, spokesman for the California Labor Federation, which sponsored the bill.

  • The companies, trying to strike a bargain before the bill comes to a vote in September, would ditch their ballot plan if they could come up with a compromise with Gov. Gavin Newsom and the unions on a bill that provides unique requirements for those who work “gig” jobs.

Go deeper: A California bill could upend the gig economy

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Civil rights leaders blast Facebook after meeting with Zuckerberg

Screenshot of an image some Facebook employees used as part of their virtual walkout on Monday.

A trio of civil rights leaders issued a blistering statement Monday following a meeting with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other top executives to discuss the social network's decision to leave up comments from President Trump they say amount to calls for violence and voter suppression.

Why it matters: While Twitter has flagged two of the president's Tweets, one for being potentially misleading about mail-in ballot procedures and another for glorifying violence, Facebook has left those and other posts up, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying he doesn't want to be the "arbiter of truth."

Updated 53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Updates: George Floyd protests nationwide

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued for a seventh day across the U.S., with President Trump threatening on Monday to deploy the military if the unrest continues.

The latest: Baltimore Police Department tweeted late Monday, "BPD has activated the Maryland State Police to assist with moderate crowds in the downtown area. Officers have observed members in the crowd setting off illegal fireworks and throwing objects near peaceful protestors and officers."

2 hours ago - Technology

Cisco, Sony postpone events amid continued protests

Screenshot: Axios (via YouTube)

Cisco said Monday night that it is postponing the online version of Cisco Live, its major customer event, amid the ongoing protests that have followed the killing of George Floyd.

Why it matters: Cisco joins Sony, Electronic Arts and Google in delaying tech events planned for this week.