Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have slammed the ridesharing model, in and of itself, as a form of worker exploitation.
On March 7, Biden said he opposed allowing rideshare drivers to continue as independent contractors because “we can’t let corporations undermine basic rights.”
But that hasn’t stopped Biden and Harris from using the services for themselves. In fact the Harris and Biden campaigns have used Uber and Lyft on at least 1,456 occasions, according to FEC reports.
Despite their assertion that the core rideshare model is exploitative, their campaigns, collectively, have spent $80,593 on Uber/Lyft rides. Biden’s campaign has spent $11,695.17 on 400 Uber/Lyft transactions, while Harris’s campaign spent $68,898.32 on 1,056 Uber/Lyft transactions. This spending was done over the duration of their respective presidential campaigns.
For example, a single July 26, 2019 disbursement shows “Kamala Harris for the People” spent $2,260.14 on Uber transportation.
A single March 5, 2020 disbursement shows “Biden for President” spent $292.97 on an Uber ride or rides.
Two days later, on March 7, Biden vowed to end the freedom for drivers to work as independent contractors, because he said: “We can’t let corporations undermine basic rights.” His campaign continued to use Uber and Lyft.
It is worth noting that 72% of app-based drivers in California would prefer to maintain independent contractor status. Additionally, by a 3-1 ratio, Americans consider rideshare app drivers to be independent contractors, as opposed to employees. Pew Research notes, in a large rideshare survey, that “the clear preference for a light regulatory approach among partisans in all camps is striking.” On this issue, Americans are not on the same page as the Biden/Harris campaign.
Most independent contractors, even outside of ridesharing, become an IC because they aren’t bound to a company. They are free to work when, where, and how they want. Many app-based drivers partner simultaneously with the direct competitors of the platforms.
At a time when households need to juggle taking care of their families, schooling, and health, independent contracting is more important now than it has ever been. Additionally, with the country’s gaze towards making a more just society for people of color, Uber and Lyft have been an incredible source of transportation for once underserved communities. By a 5:1 ratio, residents of majority-minority neighborhoods say rideshare services like Uber and Lyft “serve neighborhoods taxis won’t visit” according to a landmark Pew Research Center survey.
This is significant because a lack of access to easy, quick, and cheap transportation can have a malignant effect on the rest of one’s life. According to the CDC, access to transportation is one of the most significant social determinants of health. Further, Uber/Lyft have offered a safe alternative to potentially dangerous situations. Many have opted for ridesharing rather than driving while intoxicated. Vulnerable populations, being primarily women, who are wary of walking or taking public transportation at late hours are given the option of a quick get-away with rideshare services.
The anti-independent contractor Assembly Bill 5, passed in California has resulted in an untold number of people losing their jobs and small businesses having to close their doors. Biden and Harris have endorsed AB5 as well as the federal PRO Act, which would impose AB5 insanity on a national level.
A survey done by Edelman Intelligence reported that, without the extra income, rideshare and food delivery app drivers in California wouldn’t be able to put money away for a rainy day (76%), provide for themselves and their family (73%), pay their bills (73%), put food on the table (65%), and pay rent/mortgage (67%). Nearly 72% of rideshare and food delivery app drivers support Proposition 22, a ballot initiative which would override Assembly Bill 5 by considering app-based drivers independent contractors and not employees or agents.
It’s clear that this law will have dire effects on the livelihoods of rideshare drivers, despite the purported goal of “protecting” workers. Both Biden and Harris were seemingly apprehensive about coming out to support these laws during their respective presidential campaigns, but still gave in to the party’s leftist base.
In fact, Kamala Harris could be found praising ridesharing just a few years ago.
In the 23rd minute of the video below, Harris says, “Who of you has heard of Uber or these other car services? Right? Where you can go onto your smartphone and you can through GPS get a car to pick you up. And that car will know where you are because of the GPS and you’ll know what cars are in that area because of GPS. And so you get into the car right away and you are off. Very efficient! Changing one of the oldest business models called taxi services.”