Uber and Lyft Lobby California Appeals Court to Keep Drivers as Contractors

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — Arguing before a state appeals court Tuesday, Uber and Lyft lawyers predicted fewer rides for consumers, lower earnings for drivers and a spike in drunk-driving accidents if they are forced to classify California drivers as employees instead of contractors.

“I don’t want the court to think that if the injunction is affirmed, that these people will continue to have these earning opportunities because they won’t,” Lyft attorney Rohit Singla said.

Uber and Lyft want California’s First Appellate District to overturn a lower court’s Aug. 10 preliminary injunction requiring them to start classifying drivers as employees. The injunction was stayed pending appeal on Aug. 20.

Joined by the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra sued Uber and Lyft in May, accusing them of violating Assembly Bill 5 by misclassifying drivers as independent contractors and denying them employment benefits, such as minimum wage, overtime and unemployment insurance. AB 5 went into effect this past January.

If forced to comply with the law, Uber and Lyft say they could no longer let drivers choose their own working hours. Government lawyers say nothing in AB 5 prevents the tech giants from offering flexible schedules.

During a two-hour telephonic hearing before a three-judge panel, Singla said classifying drivers as employees would drastically change his client’s business model and make scheduling flexibility impossible.

He compared Lyft drivers to the state of California 235,000-person workforce of government employees.

“Do they have employees that can work whenever they want, stop working for a month or two,” Singla asked. “No employer can do that, have employees working as long as they want whenever they want.”

Both Uber and Lyft insist they are not “hiring entities” subject to the labor law but rather providers

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Watchdog rips MTA oversight of big-dollar contractors

The MTA’s evaluation process for big-dollar contractors is “a pass/fail test where everyone passes” and in need of a “fundamental revamp,” the agency’s inspector general said in a damning new report.

IG Carolyn Pokorny’s office found MTA managers gave nearly 100 percent of companies passing grades, allowing “problematic vendors” to “undeservedly score” access cushy construction contracts.

The evaluation process — known as the All-Agency Contraction Evaluation — is conducted for companies with capital contracts of $250,000 or more.

In 2019, contract managers gave the highest grade of “satisfactory” to 97.2 percent of contract recipients, the IG said. Just .4 percent of contractors received failing grades.

IG investigators previously flagged instances of poor performing contractors with passing ratings in 2009 and 2015.

“Capital project managers have a history of rating subpar vendors ‘satisfactory’ in evaluations, creating ‘evaluation inflation’ in the system,” the report released Wednesday said.

“Data from 2016 through 2019 shows that the problem persists — and if anything has gotten worse.”

The cash-choked MTA has been plagued for years by costly contractor delays and overruns. More “unsatisfactory” ratings could have helped the MTA avoid costly mistakes, the IG report claimed.

But Ben Fried, of the Manhattan-based think tank TransitCenter, said the MTA’s problem is not bad contractors, but too few companies bidding for contracts.

“It’s not very competitive, and the less competition, the harder it is for the MTA to get good prices,” Fried said of the small pool of contractors willing to work with the agency.

“The IG should look into that — what’s scaring companies away from MTA business? If more of them were competing for MTA jobs, maybe the agency wouldn’t be so hesitant to flag poor performers.”

In its official response, the MTA agreed to the IG’s call for a revamp of the contractor evaluation

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Uber and Lyft faced tough questions from California judges as they seek to keep classifying drivers as contractors

Dara Khosrowshahi, Logan Green are posing for a picture: Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and Lyft CEO Logan Green Laura Buckman/Reuters; Carlo Allegri/Reuters

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Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and Lyft CEO Logan Green Laura Buckman/Reuters; Carlo Allegri/Reuters

  • A California appeals court heard arguments on Tuesday from Uber and Lyft as they appeal a recent ruling that would force the companies to reclassify drivers as employees.
  • A lower court determined in August that Uber and Lyft drivers are employees, not contractors, under the state’s gig work law, AB-5, but delayed enforcing the ruling while the companies appeal it.
  • Uber, Lyft, and other gig companies have fought AB-5 aggressively, pouring more than $180 million into a ballot measure aimed at California voters that would permanently exempt them from the law.
  • The companies argue reclassifying drivers as employees will reduce their flexibility, while proponents of AB-5 say Uber and Lyft’s business models rely on underpaying drivers and skirting labor laws. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A California appeals court heard oral arguments Tuesday from Uber, Lyft, and the state over whether a lower court reached the right conclusion in August when it ruled that the companies’ drivers are employees under the state’s gig work law, AB-5.


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Judges from California’s first district Court of Appeal pressed lawyers for Uber and Lyft over drivers’ wages and autonomy, and questioned the companies’ arguments that AB-5 would require them to reduce drivers’ flexibility, according to The Washington Post and The New York Times reporter Kate Conger.

The judges also asked a lawyer for the state about potential harms to Uber and Lyft and drivers’ preferences around their employment status, according to reports.

The landmark case could fundamentally alter the contractor-based business model that Uber and Lyft have relied on, and the companies are aggressively fighting the law in court and via a ballot measure that California voters will decide on in

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PIAC calls for sanctions against contractors who execute shoddy works

General News of Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Source: GNA


PIAC has oversight responsibility over the managment of the country's petroleum resourcesPIAC has oversight responsibility over the managment of the country’s petroleum resources

The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) has called on government to initiate punitive measures against contractors who execute shoddy works on oil-funded projects.

PIAC, which has oversight responsibility over the management of the country’s petroleum revenues, has noted with concern the practice of some contractors doing sub-standard works defeating the purpose of value for money for the use of petroleum revenues.

It is important to note that petroleum revenues come from a depleting resource base, a reason the law provided for using Petroleum revenue in ways that support intergenerational benefit.

The Committee also called on government to recognize other contractors who have demonstrated value for the use of petroleum revenues through the delivery of good projects.

The Chairman of PIAC, Mr Noble Wadzah made the call after he led a PIAC team to visit selected oil-funded projects in the Eastern Region. The exercise forms part of the Committee’s regular activity to identify with effective use of the country’s petroleum revenues.

The projects the community visited included the Construction of Community Health-Based Planning Service (CHPS) compound at Ahankrasu, construction of Irrigation Infrastructure at Aditrase and Kornokle in the Yilo Krobo District and the Payment for a 3-Unit classroom block at Amanase Aboabo JHS and Owusu Wawase D/A Primary.

The rest are Bitumen Surfacing of New Tafo–Nobi–Samlesi–Anwiabeng Feeder roads, Construction of Irrigation Infrastructure at Aditrase and Kornole in the Yilo Krobo District and upgrading of Kade Wenchi Akim Oda Roads.

On the CHPS compound, information made available to the PIAC Team indicated that the contract was awarded in November 2018.

As at the time of PIAC’s visit, main construction works on the CHPS have been completed, finishing works were

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On first anniversary of Hard Rock Hotel collapse, developer sues contractors, insurers | Courts

The company that owns the ill-fated Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans filed suit this week against a host of construction contractors, subcontractors and insurance companies over the 2019 building collapse that killed three workers and injured dozens more.

The suit was filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court late Monday, the first anniversary of the collapse of the upper floors of the 18-story building.

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The ownership group, 1031 Canal Development, is led by Mohan Kailas. But company officials have said principals of two of the project’s main contractors — Denzel Clark, owner of general contractor Citadel Builders, and Todd Trosclair, owner of electrical contractor All-Star Electric — also owned a share.

The development company blames the building’s failure on Citadel, All-Star, Heaslip Engineering, architect Harry Baker Smith and 15 other subcontractors. Because of the company’s contract with Citadel to build the hotel at Canal and North Rampart streets, it also sued the insurance providers of each contractor and subcontractor.

The lawsuit takes particular aim at Heaslip, whom investigators for the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration have cited for several key violations. The development company’s suit asserts that Heaslip failed to design the proper support beams and columns or to calculate the proper loads that each floor could support. It branches out from there to the lead contractor, Citadel, and the various trades subcontractors.

Nearly a year after the top floors of the Hard Rock Hotel collapsed, killing three workers, injuring 18 others and straining city resources, N…

“Just as Heaslip did not run appropriate load calculations and analyses, neither did the general contractor or any subcontractor or supplier,” 1031 Canal alleges.

The owners also blame steel subcontractor Hub Steel for the way it fabricated and installed beams and metal decking on the upper floors. Metal decking was used

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