Uber (company)

Politics • American • US
Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Twitter among companies to pledge to give employees time off to vote
Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Twitter among companies to pledge to give employees time off to vote
Credit: unsplash.com/visuals

Hundreds of US companies have pledged to give employees time off to participate in elections. PayPal CEO Dan Schulman previously said that "no American should have to choose between earning a paycheck and voting."

Starbucks, Twitter, Uber and Coca-Cola, have said that employees would get election day off, while Starbucks employees are giving a flexible workday to either vote or volunteer at polling places. Apple employees are getting four hours off.

As of now, 700 companies have joined the nonpartisan coalition "Time to Vote", an initiative that formed ahead of the 2018 elections, and around 600 companies have signed on ElectionDay.org to either give employees time off or distribute information on voting.

Politics • European • Spain
Barcelona investigates possibility of an 'Amazon tax' for e-commerce giants
Barcelona investigates possibility of an 'Amazon tax' for e-commerce giants
Credit: unsplash.com / Bryan Angelo

After forcing Airbnb to remove advertisements for unlicensed tourist apartments, and trying to regulate the operations of Uber or Cabify, the spotlight is now on the big online retail operators. The City Council is considering the implementation of a tax for large companies like Amazon, which make profits in the city but do not pay taxes like local businesses. Legally it will not be easy, they admit in Ada Colau's government. The idea is to tax the use of public space which is a local competence.

The mayor explains that, from the constitutional point of view, the contribution "would be based on the use of the local public space used by the platforms to obtain an economic benefit".

Technology • Internet & Web
Former Uber Chief Security Office charged with concealing hack
Former Uber Chief Security Office charged with concealing hack
Credit: Uber

The former Uber's Chief Security Office was charged Thursday with attempting to conceal a 2016 hack that exposed the personal information of 57 million drivers and passangers. The executive is accused of arranging a $100,000 payoff to the hackers responsible for the attack.

David Anderson, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, announced: "Sullivan is being charged with a corporate cover-up and Sullivan is being charged with the payment of hush money to conceal something that should have been revealed."

Matt Kallman, Uber spokesman, said: "We continue to cooperate fully with the Department of Justice's investigation. Our decision in 2017 to disclose the incident was not only the right thing to do, it embodies the principles by which we are running our business today: transparency, integrity, and accountability."

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Court of Appeal ruling avoids Lyft and Uber California ridesharing suspension
Court of Appeal ruling avoids Lyft and Uber California ridesharing suspension
Credit: Elvert Barnes (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

A last-minute decision by the California First District Court of Appeal avoided the suspension of ridesharing operations by Lyft and Uber. Both companies were planning to suspend their California operations at Thursday 23:59 (Pacific Time) due to the requirement of reclassifying all Lyft drivers as employees.
Before the appeal was accepted, in a blog post, Lyft stated: "We don’t want to suspend operations. We are going to keep up the fight for a benefits model that works for all drivers and our riders."
"We are glad that the Court of Appeals recognised the important questions raised in this case, and that access to these critical services won’t be cut off while we continue to advocate for drivers’ ability to work with the freedom they want," Uber said in a statement.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Uber could pause ride-hailing in California if drivers become employees
Uber app on a mobile phone
Uber app on a mobile phone Credit: Charles Deluvio (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The San Francisco Superior Court granted California’s request for a preliminary injunction saying that Uber and rival Lyft must make drivers employees rather than independent contractors. Judge Ethan Schulman delayed that order for ten days, giving the companies time to appeal, as both have said they will.

Dana Khosrowshahi, Uber CEO, stated: "If the court doesn’t reconsider, then in California, it’s hard to believe we’ll be able to switch our model to full-time employment quickly."

Uber and Lyft are pushing Proposition 22, a November ballot initiative that would keep drivers as freelancers entitled to some benefits and earnings guarantees.

Technology • Internet & Web
Uber and Lyft ordered by California judge to classify drivers as employees
Uber and Lyft ordered by California judge to classify drivers as employees
Credit: unsplash.com / Dan Gold

A California judge ruled that Uber and Lyft must classify their drivers as employees in a stunning preliminary injunction issued Monday afternoon.

Uber said it planned to file an immediate emergency appeal to block the ruling from going into effect.

Business • Economy
Massachusetts sues Uber and Lyft alleging they misclassified workers as contractors
Uber app on a mobile phone
Uber app on a mobile phone Credit: Charles Deluvio (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Massachusetts on Tuesday followed California in suing Uber and Lyft over how drivers are classified as independent contractors instead of employees entitled to extensive benefits. The complaint filed in Suffolk Superior Court claims both companies violate state minimum wage, hour and sick time laws.

"Uber and Lyft have built their billion-dollar businesses while denying their drivers basic employee protections and benefits for years," said State Attorney General Maura Healey. "This business model is unfair and exploitative. We are seeking this determination from the court because these drivers have a right to be treated fairly."

Business • Economy
Uber to launch commuter boat service in London
Galaxy Clipper, a Thames Clippers riverboat, on the River Thames
Galaxy Clipper, a Thames Clippers riverboat, on the River Thames Credit: Acabashi (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

A Thames Clippers London riverboat service will be rebranded Uber Boat later this summer. The deal will allow Uber users to book a Thames river journey through the app, and board using a QR code on their phone.

Uber will buy the naming rights for the fleet of riverboats and piers along the river at Canary Wharf in the east, the London Eye in the centre of town and Battersea Power Station in the west.

Jamie Heywood, Uber's regional manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, stated: "Many Londoners are looking for new ways to travel around the city, particularly when they start commuting back to work,".

Technology • Internet & Web
Uber launches grocery delivery in Latin America and Canada
Uber Eats
Uber Eats Credit: Uber

Uber announced on Tuesday the launch of an app-based grocery service in 19 cities in Latin American and Canadian cities. The initiative is a partnership with Cornershop, a Chilean online grocery provider that Uber has held a majority stake in since October 2019.

Customers in eleven Brazilian cities, including Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, four Chilean cities, Colombia’s Bogota, Peru’s Lima and Canada’s Montreal and Toronto will be able to order groceries through the Uber Eats app. And starting later this month, grocery delivery will be available in Miami, FL and Dallas, TX.

Business • Economy
Uber acquires Postmates for $2.65 billion
Uber acquires Postmates for $2.65 billion
Credit: Logos via Uber & Postmates

The ride-hailing company Uber has acquired the food delivery company Postmates for $2.65 billion. In a statement on Uber's website, the company announced the acquisition, stating: "Uber Technologies, Inc. and Postmates Inc. today announced that they have reached a definitive agreement under which Uber will acquire Postmates for approximately $2.65 billion in an all-stock transaction."

"Uber and Postmates have long shared a belief that platforms like ours can power much more than just food delivery—they can be a hugely important part of local commerce and communities, all the more important during crises like COVID-19," the statement continued.

Politics • American • Brazil
Brazilian delivery apps workers go on strike
Brazilian delivery apps workers go on strike
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

Over a thousand food delivery apps workers on motorcycles gathered in São Paulo on Wednesday to protest their work conditions, set by Uber, Colombia’s Rappi and Brazil’s iFood.

The deliverymen seek higher pay and better health measures, with Brazil now a Covid-19 epicentre and delivery workers facing exposure to the virus with their work in high demand.

Business • Economy
Just Eat Takeaway acquires Grubhub for $7.3 billion
Just Eat Takeaway acquires Grubhub for $7.3 billion
Credit: Takeaway.com

European food delivery app Just Eat Takeaway has agreed to buy US rival Grubhub in a $7.3 billion all-stock deal. If the takeover is completed it will create the world's biggest food delivery company outside China.

For Grubhub, the deal offers an escape from the antitrust concerns that plagued its talks with the Uber Eats division of ride-hailing firm Uber.

The new company will have more than 70 million active customers who place close to 600 million orders a year.

Business • Economy
Uber sends thousands of JUMP bikes to the scrapheap
Jump Electric Bike by Uber, Parked on the Street
Jump Electric Bike by Uber, Parked on the Street Credit: Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona

Uber is sending tens of thousands of its electric Jump bikes to the scrapyard, weeks after offloading the money-losing bike-share division on Lime.

“We explored donating the remaining, older-model bikes, but given many significant issues — including maintenance, liability, safety concerns, and a lack of consumer-grade charging equipment — we decided the best approach was to responsibly recycle them,” Uber said in a statement to NBC.

Business • Economy
Uber lays off another 3,000 employees, shuts down 45 offices
Uber mobile application
Uber mobile application Credit: Uber

Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced to employees today that the company will lay off other 3,000 employees and close 45 offices globally.

“I knew that I had to make a hard decision, not because we are a public company, or to protect our stock price, or to please our Board or investors,” Khosrowshahi wrote in a memo to employees.

The announcement comes just days after the company stated it would cut 3,700 jobs in its customer service and recruiting departments.

Business • Economy
Uber to require all drivers and passengers to wear masks during rides
Uber app on a mobile phone
Uber app on a mobile phone Credit: Charles Deluvio

Beginning next Monday in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, Uber will require drivers and riders to wear masks through the end of June.

Drivers will also be required to verify that they’re wearing face masks by taking a selfie before accepting a booking. Riders will also be required to sit in the back seat.

Business • Economy
Uber said to be in talks to buy Grubhub
Screenshot of Grubhub desktop application
Screenshot of Grubhub desktop application Credit: Grubhub

According to a report on the Wall Street Journal, Uber approached Grubhub earlier this year with an acquisition offer and the companies are still discussing a deal.

Bloomberg reports a deal could be reached as soon as this month.

Business • Economy
Uber lays off 3,700 full-time workers
Uber Driver in Car
Uber Driver in Car Credit: unsplash.com/@xokvictor

Uber announced Wednesday it’s cutting 3,700 full-time workers, or about 14% of its workforce, as people fearful of infection either stay indoors or try to limit contact with others to minimize risk when they do venture out.

The layoffs and related costs like severance will cost about $20 million for the San Francisco-based company, which had already imposed a hiring freeze. Uber has offered up to 14 days of financial assistance to drivers and delivery workers who were diagnosed with the COVID-19 disease or placed in quarantine.

Business • Economy
California sues Uber, Lyft alleging they misclassified workers as contractors
Uber app on a mobile phone
Uber app on a mobile phone Credit: Charles Deluvio (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with city attorneys from Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, filed a lawsuit asserting Uber and Lyft misclassified their drivers as independent contractors under the state's new labor law.

According to the lawsuit, both companies gained an unfair and unlawful competitive advantage by claiming their workers were contractors.

Techcrunch reports the lawsuit, filed in the Superior Court of San Francisco, seeks $2,500 in penalties for each violation, possibly per driver, under the California Unfair Competition Law, and another $2,500 for violations against senior citizens or people with disabilities.

Health
Uber announces that drivers and delivery people will get 14 days of sick leave if they get coronavirus

While the ride-share service classifies drivers and delivery people as independent contractors, that are not eligible for benefits such as paid sick days, health insurance or other - they announced that due to the coronavirus spread those people would get 14 days of sick leave if infected.