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Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Uber is asking the U.S. government to include independent contractors in its economic stimulus plans, according to a letter being sent Monday morning by CEO Dara Khosrowshahi to President Trump. The company is not asking for a bailout or loans.

Why it matters: Many of the proposals floated for a relief bill that Congress is assembling have included new protections and benefits for employees, but that category excludes millions of "gig economy" drivers and delivery people.

The state of play: Khosrowshahi spoke on Friday with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has proposed "unemployment insurance on steroids," whereby laid-off employees would receive their entire salaries. As of Sunday afternoon, the outreach appears to have been effective:

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Uber's CEO also reached out to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), but has not yet spoken with either of them.

The big picture: Khosrowshahi writes in his letter to Trump that the coronavirus has laid bare the worker protection problems inherent in Uber's labor model, and pushes for a federal fix:

"Our laws should protect all workers, not just one type of work. While I recognize that the Administration and Congress have many pressing issues before them, I urge you to act quickly to provide protections for independent workers, and, in your ongoing efforts, to consider legislative action on a 'third way' that would update our labor laws to remove the forced choice between flexibility and protection for millions of American workers. We are already working with lawmakers and Governors in various jurisdictions across the U.S. on similar legislation that would require companies like ours to provide protections and benefits to our independent contractors...
Even when the worst of this crisis is behind us, our nation and the entire world will undoubtedly have changed. Our economy will not look the same; and if we can’t restore it, we must remake it. Business leaders like myself must rise to meet that challenge, using technology to bring economic opportunity to as many Americans as possible, while helping to resolve longstanding structural problems that have left so many people without a real safety net. Uber is ready and committed to doing our part to help foster and protect work for millions of our fellow citizens. I am counting on your leadership to help realize that promise. The world has changed. Let’s change with it."

Any such changes would not only would affect those driving or delivering for Uber, but also for such companies as Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Amazon Flex, GrubHub, or Postmates.

Flashback: Uber unveiled changes in January to try to comply with a new California law that tightened rules defining independent contractors. The company has also sued California, arguing that the law is unconstitutional.

Go deeper: The gig economy's coronavirus test

Go deeper

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.

Advocates fret Roe v. Wade's 49th anniversary could be its last

Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March Inc

As Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion access in the U.S., advocates warn the ruling is "more at risk now than ever."

The big picture: The Supreme Court in December heard a challenge to a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban that could throw Roe's survival into question, or at least narrow its scope.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker