What happens if Uber and Lyft flee California? Look at Austin

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Line of rideshare vehicles driving in protest

 The ride-hail services are threatening to stop service in the Golden State to protest a judge’s ruling. They did something similar in Texas in 2016.

A California judge has ordered Uber and Lyft to treat drivers as employees; the companies say they’ll leave the state rather than comply.

RAFAEL RODRIGUEZ REMEMBERS the moment he learned Uber and Lyft were leaving Austin. “It was Mother’s Day, and I was with my girl in a restaurant,” he says. “I said, ‘Now I’m not paying for that piña colada.’” Today, he laughs about it. But in 2016, the situation was worrying. Rodriguez was a full-time driver for the ride-hail companies. Just two days later, the platforms ditched the Texas capital, frustrated that they had lost a ballot measure that forced them to fingerprint potential drivers for background checks. Rodriguez was out of a job.

Now, something similar might happen on a much bigger scale, in California. Earlier this month, a state judge ordered the ride-hail companies to treat ride-hail drivers as employees, instead of independent contractors. The companies had said they would stop operating in California on Friday, but an appeals court on Thursday delayed the effective date of the ruling until it could rule on the companies’ appeal.

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Workers find freedom and uncertainty in the sharing economy

sharing economy

Piecemeal labor has taken on a shinier veneer under new rubrics: the sharing economy, the peer economy, the collaborative economy, the gig economy.

Jennifer Guidry was in the driveway of her rental apartment just after 4 a.m. on a Friday while most of the neighbors in her leafy Boston suburb were still asleep. Her blond hair pulled back in a tidy French braid she was vacuuming the inside of her car.  A Navy veteran and former accountant, Ms. Guidry uses the early time to mitigate the uncertainty of working in what’s known as the sharing economy.

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