If you follow Uber at all (ride-sharing instead of taxis for the uninitiated), you probably saw this week that a court in California declared an Uber driver an employee instead of a contractor.
Earlier today, I saw this piece by the LinkedIn Editorial team - Chariot is Decidely Not the Uber of Employers.
Which is to say that a lot of liberal sources think it's a travesty that Uber can manage its company on the back of contractors. These folks think that's unfair - that all Uber drivers should be employees.
It's easy to agree with that, but here's the dirty little secret - the best Uber drives don't want to be employees - they want to be contractors.
Case in point - I'm about 40 rides into my experience as a Uber customer. Here's a rundown of the best drivers I've had:
--The commercial real estate agent who was going through a messy divorce and needed money. He not only did the ride, but gave me his card for all my ride needs moving forward in that city.
--The Middle Eastern guy who was finishing up college and told me about the software idea he and his brother we're working on the side.
--The middle manager in Corporate America who needed money for a trip his son was taking and was doing rides on the side.
Translation - the thing they loved about Uber was the flexibility - they could drive when they wanted to, and all of them had an end goal in mind. They weren't looking to be employees, they were looking to be opportunistic and use the service towards their goals.
Oh, and 2 of the 3? Offered me bottled water that came out of their own pocket. Hmmm...
They were attempting to be entrepreneurial. You gotta love that. America, etc.
Making Uber drivers employees will end up in the "museum of unintended consequences"... We'll sue a firm like Uber into oblivion to force what we think is right, and as a result, Uber will staff up with employees during regular business hours - normal 8 hour shifts, etc.
And the entrepreneurial people I described using Uber for their own goals - they'll be dead to Uber because they can't be employees.
I get the laws. But sometimes we kill the spirit of the best labor with laws.
Drivers who want to be employees or at least drive a car someone else owns? They should go to a more formal place called taxi companies (although if the libbies dug in, they'd find not everything is kosher there). And everything you experience at taxi companies is how we got to Uber in the first place.