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Automobile Italia / Flickr cc

Uber drivers in Seattle are now prompted with the option to listen to a company podcast before picking up riders each day.

"Drivers are not required to listen to a podcast before accepting ride requests," an Uber spokesperson told Axios. "Like any content shown in the app, drivers can choose to engage with it or simply ignore it." The company says the messages are to fend off a union drive, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why this matters: The WSJ calls the fight in Seattle the "first real unionization effort for app-based drivers" in the U.S. and is the latest threat to Uber's model that makes drivers take care of expenses like fuel, repairs and and insurance.

(The first sentence has been corrected to show drivers are not required to listen to podcasts before accepting ride requests, and Uber's comment has been added in second sentence.)

Go deeper

Behind GameStop's latest stock surge

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Back in focus: The meme stock trade.

By the numbers: GameStop finished up 19%, after a wild day that saw shares spike as much as 80%.

AT&T spins off U.S. video business via deal with TPG

Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

AT&T is spinning off three of its video services, including its satellite TV brand DirecTV, to create a new standalone video company called New DIRECTV.

Details: The company will be jointly owned by AT&T and private-equity giant TPG. AT&T will retain a 70% stake and TPG will own 30% of the firm.

Updated 54 mins ago - Sports

Ex-USA Gymnastics coach dies by suicide after being charged with human trafficking

John Geddert. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

The body of John Geddert was found on Thursday, just hours after the former USA Gymnastics coach was charged with 24 counts of criminal misconduct, according to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

What they're saying: “My office has been notified that the body of John Geddert was found late this afternoon after taking his own life. This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved," Nessel said in a statement.