The gig economy fails to share the wealth with workers. Here’s how we fix it
Like so many California families, Karim Bayumi of Anaheim, his wife and two young children are doing everything they can to scrape by.
Bayumi drives for a large rideshare company as his primary source of income. On March 11, Bayumi’s rate was cut from 80 cents a mile to 60 cents a mile, just barely above the government mileage reimbursement rate. No warning. No explanation. In an instant, a chunk of his income just disappeared.
Uber, Lyft and other app-based employers call drivers like Bayumi “independent contractors,” meaning, in theory, Bayumi is his own boss. But he has no ability to set his own rates, and the companies have the power to deactivate him at any time through no fault of his own.
The companies even mandate drivers take a certain number of rides per week if they want to earn the best possible rate, meaning his flexibility to work when he wants is extremely limited.