back to article Engine warning light appears on Uber's $100m driver settlement

Uber's $100m settlement with thousands of its drivers has spun around, mounted the curb and is careering back toward a California courthouse. Following the filing of objections [PDF] from drivers who take issue with terms of the settlement that they say only favors Uber and plaintiff lead attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan, the …

  1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    California, California über alles

    Should the settlement offer be voided, the two sides would have to negotiate a new deal or face having the case end up in front of a jury. ®

    Californian citizens - show them who's boss

  2. macjules Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Wake me up when its all über ..

    Classic ambulance chaser tactics,

    Shannon Liss-Riordan, the drivers’ lawyer, told the judge a company such as Uber “will only come to the table if they can get global peace.” She said she made a strategic decision to focus on mileage reimbursement and tips claims because they were most likely to succeed.

    The 'strategic decision' being that she is on a 25% no win, no fee arrangement with O’Connor et al, and she decided that that was more than enough for her.

  3. David Roberts

    Is this a polite way of saying

    That Uber bought their lawyer off?

    As a side effect of the fee agreement, of course.

  4. Velv Silver badge
    Terminator

    American lawyer unfairly profits from legal settlement. Surely not. That would never happen.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Labor protection laws in the the US?!

    Haha ha ha hahahaha ha !

    Don't make me laugh.

    1. John 73

      Re: Labor protection laws in the the US?!

      Kind of the point - even *US* labour laws have limits, and Uber seems to have exceeded them!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Labor protection laws in the the US?!

      US labour protection: Picking cotton for no wages is OK because you can make it up collecting tips.

    3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Labor protection laws in the the US?!

      They can be pretty minimal. But they do force companies to follow minimal standards for employee pay, benefits, and safety. There are also regulations about fares, picking up passengers, marking cars, etc. for the taxi industry

      Uber is attempting to side step these laws by claiming to be a matching service not a taxi company. But if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is a duck.

    4. BitterExScientist

      Re: Labor protection laws in the the US?!

      Worker protection no. Laws from multiple jurisdictions requiring lots of billable hours to say the equivalent of my self audit shows I'm compliant, no need to look behind the curtain; most definitely.

      It's win win all around. Conservatives get to fundraise about the burden of government regulation, liberals about the "need to do something" (TM) to protect workers, and larger companies get to keep their labor costs low.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    Picking a Future

    Uber only exists because the drivers are not considered private contractors. This group has decided that only status as full employees will do. Once this is achieved, they will have the full panoply of labor law at their disposal. Then the real squeeze starts.

    Only problem is that, in the act of harnessing Uber, they will kill the company.

    If this case is decided in plaintiff's favor, then distributed employment models generally become non-viable and any examples of such will likely disappear for good.

    Maybe that's a good thing and maybe it isn't, but I kinda resent important decisions like this being made by arbitrary judges and juries in one or two 'special' places, rather than by some kind of mass voting.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Picking a Future

      Die! die! die! Uber.

      Drive this American bullshit into the sea.

    2. MD Rackham

      Re: Picking a Future

      These issues have been voted on: in Congress, which determines the labor laws.

      It's just that Uber chooses to ignore those laws and objects to being called on it. And it's the judges and juries who have the task of doing something about it. That's the way the system is set up, and there is nothing special about Uber that exempts them from the process.

      If you want to have some kind of voice in it, get Congress to change the laws. Uber is certainly spending a lot of lobbying money on that effort, perhaps you joining their effort will make a difference.

      As for me, I'm not likely to expend much effort at ensuring my right to be someone's serf.

      And as for the awful thought that Uber might be forced to comply with labor laws and thence go out of business: boo fucking hoo.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Devil

        Re: Picking a Future

        And when Uber and its ilk go away, so go millions of potential entry-level jobs. Those people may remain dependent on taxpayer dollars all their lives. And strangely it works out, because many of them (having nothing better to do) end up as activists fighting for "the workers."

        1. MD Rackham

          Re: Picking a Future

          Using the phrase "dependent on taxpayer dollars" is what is known as a "tell."

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Picking a Future

          having nothing better to do?

          What about all the other drivers that now have nothing else to do?

          These rides were and are taking place anyway. I'm glad you added the devil logo otherwise I wouldn't have known you were taking the piss.

        3. Marketing Hack Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Picking a Future

          @Big John

          Uber is on record as wanting to embrace self-driving vehicles once they are ready. So in 5-10 years, 90% of Uber driver jobs will go away anyway, with a small number left to take care of people who want a ride but don't trust self-driving vehicles.

          And Uber is not a good entry-level job. One, younger entry-level workers are usually worse drivers, and as such get disproportionally weeded out by Uber's complaints/review process. Two, the job actually requires a fairly new-model car. I have a 2008 Mazda with less than 70K miles on it, and my car supposedly doesn't qualify. So you need money/credit to buy a newer model car, and money and credit aren't something that entry-level workers have a lot of.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Picking a Future

          F*CK your buy-you-own-uniform McJob, entry-level jobs. Especially if it enriches some tax-dodging yank monopolist.

          Prosperity means long-term planning. We need to encourage quality jobs, and the university students to support those jobs. Not globalist (US) industries who are only here for the low tax rates.

          Long-term and environmentally sound thinking; high-speed rail and self-driving / hydrogen buses, subsidized so that Uber go out of business.

          We need to strengthen labour laws, get rid of unpaid internships and zero-hour contracts, so that young people can build towards their goals protected from exploitation on their way up.

          Finally privacy laws so strong that it poisons the well, and makes all the data-pimping yanks F off home.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Picking a Future

          Then every company should lay off its employers and tell them 'work as a private contractor for half of the previous wage, or will look for someone else that will do', more or less the same sotuation in the XIX century.

          I live in a country were companies were allowed to use 'private contractors' instead of true employee for a long time, far before Uber came along with its 'disruptive' idea. It just meant a lot of underpaid workers (even in sectors like IT), with middlemen like Uber reaping the most benefits, and workers without a true future - no access to credit, and at least here the health system is free. Now that the damage done is clear, legislation tries to fix this, but companies fight back, and lobbying often works.

          Labour laws are there for a reason. Slave-like jobs are not the solution to unemployment issues. There will always be someone more desperate than you accepting less. If not available locally, they will import him or her from abroad... don't believe all those people migrating now will just stay in a few places...

        6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Picking a Future

          "entry-level jobs"

          Entry level? Really? Cars must be cheap these days. Anyway, isn't Ubers point that these are not jobs, but part time secondary and minor "income" streams derived from matching up people who want to car share?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: Picking a Future

      Correction:

      My first post said "...drivers are not considered private contractors..."

      I meant to say "...drivers are considered private contractors..."

      Commenting sans coffee, when will I learn...

  7. Winkypop Silver badge

    Look, up on the overpass, is it an employee, is it a contractor?

    No.

    It's Übermensch!

  8. Alan Denman

    Drivers seem to be talking to each other!

    Next time the lawyers will put in a confidentiality clause?

    Lesson learnt.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Drivers seem to be talking to each other!

      Not anymore. This has been ruled illegal by the Supreme Court just somewhat recently. Employees, contractors, part timers can now all talk freely about their wages and organizing.

  9. TRT Silver badge

    Well...

    tyred old arguments take the backseat and early indicators show that Shannon's been court in the headlights and she'll end up exhausted and run down after facing a battery of criticism from the clients she tried taking for a ride.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And the EU says hands off...

    This has the stench of Lobbyists... Not of all of us have forgotten your past creepy sins Uber: 'you people are so interesting' (one-night stand analysis...)

    http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2016/06/02/ec_collaboration_economy_platform_guidance/

  11. PAT MCCLUNG

    "Only problem is that, in the act of harnessing Uber, they will kill the company."

    Now THAT would really make my day!

  12. JR

    "Only problem is that, in the act of harnessing Uber, they will kill the company."

    Why exactly is that a problem?

  13. ecofeco Silver badge

    As well they should appeal

    It's pretty obvious the lawyer settled for the money.

  14. ecofeco Silver badge

    Got your exploitation right here

    Click this link (Houston Chronicle) Uber is in the sub-prime auto business

    Company needs drivers badly, offers high-fee car leases

    "Uber, which is now valued at $62.5 billion, can only make money if tens of thousands of people sign up as drivers. That's because 50 percent of Uber drivers quit after just six months."

  15. NBCanuck

    Profit?

    I have never been involved with Uber and am not familiar with how much the drivers make. I think the original concept was based on "Someone needs a drive and I'm heading that way anyhow...might as well make a buck." If this is the case it was not really meant to provide someone a real income.

    After dealing with gas, maintenance and depreciation (as those kms rack up), the increased cost of insurance (because, yeah, all the drivers are carrying extra insurance) are the drivers really making that much money? What is their % take of the Uber charge?

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