RUSH: Something else on the radar today, big, potentially big. An Uber driver in California — just one for now — was said by the California Labor Commission to be an employee, not an independent contractor. It has Uber quaking in their boots. You know, Uber has all these drivers all over the country. Many of the drivers work two and three different jobs. Uber does not have to provide health care to one of them.
That’s why Uber and their CEO having running around saying, “Oh, we love Obamacare! Obamacare? Why it’s the most stabilizing thing for our business that there’s ever been,” ’cause they don’t have to provide it to anybody. Except now they do. Now, they’re gonna appeal this. “The decision was issued in March but it became public only Tuesday because Uber has filed an appeal.” It’s just one Uber driver in California.
The California Labor Commission has ruled that this Uber driver actually is an employee, and that means that Uber could be facing — if this were to be applied to every Uber driver across the fruited plain, Uber could be looking at — having to spend $150 million on health care for all of their drivers that it currently does not have to provide. That’s one of the ways they can keep their prices low. It’s one of the ways, ’cause none of their drivers work a full 30 hours a week.
That’s one of the Obamacare requirements. Anything under 30 hours a week is considered part time and such employers are not required to provide health care for such people. But the California Labor Commission looked at this one driver. This one driver made a complaint, “I want health care from Uber, and I’m not an independent contractor. I’m an employee.”
So the labor commission looked at this and they concluded, “You know what? That driver does look more like an employee than an independent contractor.” So now Uber’s quaking in their boots over the potential nationwide ramifications. This is one driver for now, so they’re gonna try to head this off of at the pass.
RUSH: We’ll head to Grand Rapids. This is Ted. I really appreciate your patience, Ted. Welcome to the program, and hello.
CALLER: Thank you very much, Rush. I’m very humbled and honored to be sharing a phone line with you.
RUSH: (laughing) Well, thank you, Fred. (laughing) I appreciate that.
CALLER: Rush, I am an Uber driver in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
RUSH: An Uber driver. Yes.
CALLER: I am an Uber driver. I just wanted to comment on the gentleman in California who is insisting that Uber give him health insurance.
RUSH: I think it was a woman.
CALLER: Oh, okay.
RUSH: It doesn’t matter, but just to be accurate, I think it was a woman.
CALLER: Well, you never know out there.
RUSH: (laughing) You’re just a card here today, Ted.
CALLER: Heh-heh. This is wonderful. Uber presents an opportunity for people — and let me make it perfectly clear: I am not an Uber plant. I am calling right now; I’m Ubering as we speak. But I just took myself offline so I could speak to you. Nobody punches a clock. I certainly don’t punch a clock. I can come and go as I want. They make it clear, perfectly clear that you’re an independent contractor. You know, nobody holds a gun to my head (chuckles) to make me go and drive for them. Now, granted, I am semiretired, but they’ve offered a great opportunity. I chose to go pursue them.
RUSH: How many hours a week do you drive for Uber?
CALLER: It depends. It’s whatever I want, Rush. I can do anywhere from 20 to 50 if I wanted to. Nobody dictates to me when I have to go and when I don’t have to go. I’ve spent most of my career as a manufacturer’s rep as an independent contractor, and this clearly speaks down the same road as that.
RUSH: Well, Uber makes it clear they are not a transportation company. They’re just a software company that matches drivers and riders.
CALLER: It’s exactly what they do. It’s exactly what they do. And I gotta tell you, had I known about this, I’d have retired a couple years ago because I am having an absolute riot doing this.
RUSH: You know, I’m too famous to do Uber. I got the app, but I’m too famous to do it. I couldn’t. All I’d have to do is use Uber once and a driver’s gonna be following me around for the rest of my life. I can’t take that chance. I just can’t. So I miss out on it. I’m curious to know what it’s like.