Uber’s chief executive is calling for Washington state to develop a “portable benefits system” to give contract workers in the so-called gig economy access to health care and retirement planning accounts.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi signed onto a letter with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 775 President David Rolf and Seattle investor and workers rights advocate Nick Hanauer urging the state to take action.
Uber does not hire drivers as actual employees meaning the company does not offer them benefits beyond compensation.
Khosrowshahi said having the state change laws so that contract workers can carry benefits between jobs would be preferable to Uber hiring them as full employees.
The letter says there are numerous "legal, policy and political hurdles” why companies like Uber haven't been able to offer contract employees benefits on their own.
“These hurdles will only be overcome when parties are willing to sit down, put aside historical differences, and work together to develop a solution,” Khosrowshahi, Rolf and Hanauer wrote. “Furthermore, while we applaud and support efforts at the national level, we believe there is great opportunity to take the first significant steps at the state level.”
Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerNew Mexico Democrat tests positive for COVID-19 breakthrough case Warner tests positive for breakthrough COVID-19 case Bipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law MORE (D-Va.) who has been calling for legislation on portable benefits praised the letter.
“This is an important start towards remaking our social safety net to address a changing economy,” Warner tweeted. “I applaud the @Uber-@SEIU partnership and will keep pushing my legislation to encourage this kind of portable benefits innovation at the local level.”
Rep. Derek KilmerDerek Christian KilmerState Democrat group teams up with federal lawmakers to elect down-ballot candidates Washington redistricting panel reaches late agreement on new lines Democrats fear Virginia is precursor to House drubbing MORE (D-Wash.) and the New Democrats Coalition also supported the letter on social media.
The way we work is changing, creating new opportunities and challenges in public policy. Great to see @DavidMRolf, @NickHanauer, and @Uber working towards an innovative portable benefits system for tomorrow. #FutureOfWork https://t.co/MdLHYBPBC2— New Dem Coalition (@HouseNewDems) January 23, 2018