Nov 10, 2019

Uber CEO defends driver pay and "employment" status

In an interview with "Axios on HBO," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi defended his company's position that drivers shouldn't be classified as employees, adding that pay is fair and that he wouldn't support a driver's union.

Why it matters: Uber and other gig economy companies are under increasing political pressure to provide higher wages and better benefits to their workers, and in California to stop classifying them as independent contractors.

On Uber's chief legal officer saying drivers aren't "core" to the business:

KHOSROWSHAHI: "If the drivers decide not to come to work, no, of course we couldn't make money."
AXIOS: Then how is that not core to your business?
KHOSROWSHAHI: "The core to our business is building out this platform that riders and drivers can use, right? If riders don't come onto the app, we have no business."

On targeting 2021 for profitability:

"And the ride-sharing business, what Uber was originally known for, that business this quarter paid for 100% of our corporate overhead. If all Uber did was ride share, we'd be profitable today."

On an Elizabeth Warren presidency:

"I don't think she'd be an existential threat to Uber. ... I think a lot of her points, which is there are people in power in the financial industry and in the technology industry as well who haven't been transparent enough, who have built platforms that are incredibly powerful, and haven't been responsible enough with those platforms of power, I think that comes from a real place."

On Saudi Arabia, which is Uber's fifth-largest shareholder:

"They're just like any other shareholder, right? Now, we're a public company. Anyone can invest in our company if they choose to do so."
  • Khosrowshahi also repeatedly referred to the murder of U.S. resident journalist Jamal Khashoggi as "a mistake," but later backtracked. Go deeper.

On Uber's future:

"If the only way that Uber grows is if we put more cars on the street, at some point a city is going to say, 'Enough.' So what we have to do is continue to invest in technologies that get multiple people in a car, continue to invest in and help invest in the electrification of the fleet, and build out alternative modes of transportation: electric bikes, scooters, transit."

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Updated 18 mins ago - World

In photos: People around the world rally against racism

Despite a ban on large gatherings implemented in response to the coronavirus pandemic, protesters rally against racism in front of the American Embassy in Paris on June 6. Photo: Julien Mattia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Tens of thousands of people have continued to rally in cities across the world against racism and show their support this week for U.S. demonstrators protesting the death in police custody of George Floyd.

Why it matters: The tense situation in the U.S. has brought the discussion of racism and discrimination onto the global stage at a time when most of the world is consumed by the novel coronavirus.

Updates: George Floyd protests enter 12th day

Protesters in Washington, D.C. on June 6. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Thousands of demonstrators are gathering in cities across the U.S. and around the world to protest the killing of George Floyd. Huge crowds have assembled in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Chicago for full-day events.

Why it matters: Twelve days of nationwide protest in the U.S. has built pressure for states to make new changes on what kind of force law enforcement can use on civilians and prompted officials to review police conduct.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 6,852,810 — Total deaths: 398,211 — Total recoveries — 3,071,142Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 1,917,080 — Total deaths: 109,702 — Total recoveries: 500,849 — Total tested: 19,778,873Map.
  3. Public health: Why the pandemic is hitting minorities harder — Coronavirus curve rises in FloridaHow racism threatens the response to the pandemic Some people are drinking and inhaling cleaning products in attempt to fight the virus.
  4. Tech: The pandemic is accelerating next-generation disease diagnostics — Robotics looks to copy software-as-a-service model.
  5. Business: Budgets busted by coronavirus make it harder for cities to address inequality Sports, film production in California to resume June 12 after 3-month hiatus.
  6. Education: Students and teachers flunked remote learning.