Regulation

Sen. Warren’s Ridesharing Rant

Uber, Lyft and the ridesharing economy just got another opponent in Congress.

Or, the gig economy as it's also known, which is what Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) took aim at recently when giving a speech at the annual conference of the New America think tank in Washington, D.C.

During her speech, she specifically targeted the ridesharing companies for not providing proper wages, citing many of the labor issues companies like Uber and Lyft have been criticized over. She pointed out that these types of companies have undercut the dedication of many to establish good work conditions for employees.

“The much-touted virtues of flexibility, independence and creativity offered by gig work might be true for some workers under some conditions,” Warren said in her speech, “but for many, the gig economy is simply the next step in a losing effort to build some economic security in a world where all the benefits are floating to the top 10 percent.”

And the top ridesharing companies in the U.S., she said, are propelling that problem, which see says pushes wages down, as more and more people and companies attempt to be part of the gig economy.

“While their businesses provide workers with great flexibility, companies like Lyft and Uber have often resisted the efforts of those same workers to access a greater share of the wealth generated from their work,” she said. “Their business model is, in part, dependent on extremely low wages for drivers.”

Warren cited the recent battle in Austin, Texas — which has been seen across the U.S. — as it relates to the the competition between taxi companies versus the ridesharing companies that have created an unequal playing field when it comes to regulatory measures. She called upon the importance for more rules and regulation over this industry to prevent such issues from getting worse.

"The ridesharing story illustrates the promise of these new businesses — and the dangers. Uber and Lyft fought against local taxicab rules that kept prices high and limited access to services," Warren said.

Uber has since fired back with its own PR statement, which, according to what was provided to Fortune, read: “Our platform provides independence and flexibility, and nearly 90 percent of U.S. drivers tell us that they partner with Uber to be their own boss and set their own schedule.”

Either way, this recent press isn't what Uber or Lyft want as they are attempting to expand their companies amid a regulatory environment that is only getting stricter on companies attempting to navigate the on-demand economy.

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