California Rules Uber Drivers are Employees, Not Contractors
June 17, 2015
California’s labor commission has ruled that drivers working for Uber Technologies Inc. should be classified as employees, not independent contractors.
• California’s labor commission has ruled that drivers working for Uber Technologies Inc. should be classified as employees, not independent contractors. The ruling found that Uber is “involved in every aspect of the operation,” and therefore is legally an employer of its drivers. This decision could set a precedent for how the ride-hailing service compensates its more than 200,000 drivers and force the company to pay huge new costs to cover employee benefits. It also has the potential to affect the operations and valuations of companies in the on-demand, sharing economy. [WSJ]
• The White House signaled today that President Obama would be open to Congress sending him fast-track legislation separately from a measure to assist workers displaced by trade. This offering could make it easier for congressional Republicans to send Obama the bills to expedite a trade deal with 11 other nations around the Pacific, which are his top legislative priority. Obama and Republican leaders in the House have been scrambling to come up with a new strategy of getting both measures to the White House after Democrats voted down the Trade Adjustment Assistance bill last week. If this bill successfully reaches the President’s desk, he will have the fast-track power to submit trade deals to Congress for an up-or-down vote without amendments, which is key to securing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. [The Hill]
• The Federal Communications Commission plans to fine AT&T $100 million for misleading consumers about unlimited data plans. The fine is in response to AT&T drastically reducing network speeds for phone customers who purchased an unlimited plan once they used a certain amount of data. The commission alleges that the wireless provider failed to properly tell customers about the policy. AT&T now has 30 days to respond to the FCC’s claims. [The Hill]
Economic Indicators & News
• With the U.S. economy showing signs of improving, the Federal Reserve signaled it would move toward interest-rate increases later this year. For now though, the Fed says a benchmark interest rate near zero “remains appropriate.” In forecasts the Fed made public about its interest-rate outlook, 15 of 17 officials said they expected to start raising short-term interest rates before the end of 2015. The projections look like officials will favor one or two quarter-percentage point rate increases by December. This forecast adjusted from earlier projections predicting higher rate increases suggests officials have become less certain about the long-term strength of the U.S. economy and its capacity to withstand much higher rates. [WSJ]