Column: Uber reneges on the ‘flexibility’ it gave drivers to win their support for Proposition 22

Publication: LA Times

Last year, the ride-hailing service Uber gave its drivers unprecedented control over their fares and working conditions.

The goal was to win drivers’ support for Proposition 22, through which Uber and other gig companies aimed to rewrite California labor law in the companies’ favor.

The firms’ pitch was that the ballot measure would preserve the “flexibility” in hours and earnings that their workers valued, and that they said would be threatened unless the labor law was changed.

Uber’s new options seemed to make that flexibility more real: The company gave drivers more latitude to set their own fares, and more visibility into the trips they were offered before deciding whether to accept them.

Proposition 22 was passed by an overwhelming margin in the November election. Since then, some drivers say, Uber has taken the flexibility options away, and even cut the drivers’ income on many trips.