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Letter sent on Jun 19, 2015

Uber Under Attack

This Week in the On-Demand Economy

We’re not even going to pretend that life in the on-demand economy was really about anything other than Uber this week. When California bureaucrats ruled that one former Uber driver was not a contractor but an employee —well, controversy exploded. Here’s the best of what the web, and the Medium community, had to say.


The Many, Many Cases of the Woman Who Just Beat Uber

by Lauren Smiley, Medium
We caught up with the victorious ex-driver, Barbara Ann Berwick — who has a vast history of low-ticket price lawsuits — and she told us “I’m enjoying my five minutes of fame.”

Could a Legal Ruling Instantly Wipe Out Uber? Not So Fast

by Ellen Huet, Forbes

So far, Uber is reacting by doing what Uber does best — defiant confidence. It’s appealing the ruling, and telling the press (accurately) that the very same California labor commissioner’s office has also ruled the opposite way in a different claim in 2012. Ellen Huet explains how complicated this legal morass really is.

Our Model of ‘Employee’ Doesn’t Fit Any More

by Matt Lutze, Medium

But still: The fact that this is the first such ruling in Uber’s home state will influence the ongoing federal lawsuits over on-demand’s reigning labor model. Lutze argues we’re all behind the curve.

Other responses:

@nb_Chris: “Long live the new serfs”
@Richensf: “The ruling contradicts itself”
“She neglects to read her employment contract”
@FarePlayNow: “So just who is regulating this new company that has relatively untrained, uninsured motorists driving people around?”

Tweet of the Week

So is the young, ornery, and wildly booming on-demand economy at a seminal tipping point? Is this the beginning of the end of the on-demand bubble?

Want to share your thoughts? Write a response now.

The Facial Hair of the New Economy

by Rick Bell, Workforce

“Since beards are the hip and trendy look these days… we’ll call the sharing economy peach fuzz-faced entrepreneurialism.”

Fedex Settles Independent Contractor Mislabeling Case for $228m

by Robert W Wood, Forbes

Given how fiercely FedEx has fought this issue for so many years, it is not hyperbole to call the impact of this case “seismic.”

Bring Me What?

by Stephanie Pakrul, Medium

A visual guide to on-demand delivery in San Francisco.

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The $50bn Question: Can Uber Deliver?

by Douglas MacMillan, Wall Street Journal

UberEATS is having trouble getting off the ground.

To Boost Image, Uber Partners With Women Drivers

by Somit Sen, Times of India

In Mumbai, it recently partnered with 20 women cabbies to ensure safety of women travelling alone, specially in the night.

Meet the New Worker, Same as the Old Worker

by Caroline O’Donovan, BuzzFeed

Tech companies are pushing for a new classification of worker that would combine the flexibility afforded to contractors with the protections afforded to employees. How that new worker is defined could impact American labor for years to come.

Remember: We’re collecting stories from all parts of the on-demand economy in one place. Tag your Medium posts ‘on demand’ or submit them to us by emailing ondemand@medium.com.

Photo credits: Uber: Mary Altaffer/AP. Mustaches: Eduardo Eduardo on Flickr.