As you have likely seen, a former Uber exec revealed over 124,000 internal documents to the world detailing the inner-workings of Uber, including what appears to be a flagrant disregard for the law, and a pattern of exploiting the lives of drivers in its crusade for profit and global market expansion.
Uber Puts Profit Over The Lives Of Workers
The story these documents reveal is horrific: Uber appears to have encouraged drivers to put themselves in dangerous situations when it benefitted their bottomline. A former executive even said “Violence guarantees success,” about the risk to drivers’ lives when Uber was facing backlash against the company’s aggressive expansion abroad.
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Uber executives also allegedly used meetings with world leaders to open up doors, push legislation and wield public policy in their favor – all to push a business model that offloads all costs and risks onto the backs of drivers. The documents reveal that Uber executives likely knew that their business model is illegal and that drivers’ lives are on the line.
In response to the revelations, Uber is telling reporters that this is in the past, and that they’ve cleaned up their operations, and drivers are now safe. But there are real reasons to question any assertion that somehow drivers are now “safe”.
Gig Workers Rising released a safety report in April titled: Death and corporate irresponsibility In the Gig Economy: An Urgent Safety Crisis. The report found that over 50 app workers have been killed on the job since 2017, most of whom work on Uber’s platforms. The actual number is likely to be higher, as app corporations do not regularly disclose the number of homicides that occur for workers using their app.
Uber drivers have been vocal about the risks to their health and safety while working on the app. The bedrock of the Uber business model is to offload risk onto drivers. This means drivers are too often excluded from safety net programs like workers compensation and, despite how dangerous the work is, too many drivers are left on their own to figure out strategies to protect themselves.
In response to Gig Workers Rising’s report, Senators Warren, Markey, and Sanders, and Congresswoman Pressley sent a letter of inquiry to the CEOs of the 5 major app corporations regarding working conditions. The deadline the members of Congress set was June 23, but to our knowledge, Uber has failed to respond.