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What If the "Sharing Economy" Organized a Strike, and Nobody Came? 139

Posted by timothy
from the arise-workers-and-throw-off-your-ah-what-the-hell dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "In Boston, a number of UberX drivers reportedly planned to strike yesterday afternoon in response to a rate cut. (UberX is a low-cost program from Uber, which is attempting to "disrupt" the traditional cab industry via a mobile app that connects ordinary drivers in need of cash with passengers who want to go somewhere.) Uber tried to preempt the strike with a blog posting explaining that the rate cut actually translated into more customers and thus more revenue to drivers, but it needn't have bothered: according to local media (the same media that reported a strike was in the making) a strike failed to materialize. Many of the biggest firms of the so-called 'sharing economy,' such as Uber and Airbnb, are locked in battle with some combination of deeply entrenched industries and government regulators. But if the 'labor' that drives the sharing economy becomes more agitated about its compensation, it could create yet another interesting wrinkle. The Boston strike may have fizzled, but that doesn't mean another one, in a different city, won't enjoy more success." Free (or freer) entry makes occupation-based roadblocks harder to enforce, though, so Uber and other crowd-sourcing matchmakers are tougher to pin down and disrupt in the way that more tightly controlled enterprises are. (Not that city councils and other bodies aren't trying to corral crowd-sourced undertakings into their regulatory purviews, putting a damper on some of that freewheeling disintermediation.)
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What If the "Sharing Economy" Organized a Strike, and Nobody Came?

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  • Labor is valueless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i kan reed (749298) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @02:20PM (#45226563) Homepage Journal

    As long as the money is concentrated in very few hands, the price of labor basically becomes fiat of the wealthy. You, as a first world citizen, can't compete on price and survive.

    • Not to worry, statistics suggest that the luckless residents of the third world are having considerable trouble competing on price and surviving as well...

      In certain specific cases, a sudden outbreak of competition-on-price (say, an outsourcing, or the liberalization of trade policy in a previously tariff-protected industry) may really show a group of first world workers how much they can't compete on price with some 3rd-worlders of similar skill; but in the longer term, it's not as though being unable
      • That glimmer of hope you provide is assuming money cannot be used to directly displace labor. It can. Or at least will.

        • I think what you mean is capital, not money.

          Of course in the long run more and improved capital increases productivity and productivity gains are the main driver behind increasing wages. Which is not to say that capital wont displace today’s workers – see the luddites.

          • But productivity isn't the same as outright replacement. It's not far to imagine a profitable business with zero employees in the near future.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        In certain specific cases, a sudden outbreak of competition-on-price (say, an outsourcing, or the liberalization of trade policy in a previously tariff-protected industry) may really show a group of first world workers how much they can't compete on price with some 3rd-worlders of similar skill; but in the longer term, it's not as though being unable to compete on price is exclusive to the first world: Unless you have some very-hard-to-reproduce talent (in which case you aren't competing on price), the expected price set by pure price competition will be whatever bare subsistence costs(any lower, and the labor will starve, any higher and somebody who is unemployed will be willing to work for bare subsistence...)

        Except that there is very rarely pure price competition, which is why we didn't see ever increasing dystopia since the industrial revolution.

        Sorry, you can't blame the current economy on too much capitalism. (Or too much robotics, for another favorite dystopian scenario).

        No, something else happened circa 2008 to turn a recession into an ongoing malaise. And it sure as heck wasn't too much capitalism or too little government.

        • Sorry, you can't blame the current economy on too much capitalism. (Or too much robotics, for another favorite dystopian scenario).

          No, something else happened circa 2008 to turn a recession into an ongoing malaise. And it sure as heck wasn't too much capitalism or too little government.

          It was precisely that.

          It was too much capitalism in the overbalance of bank greed and too little government in the lack of regulation to control it.

      • by sFurbo (1361249)

        the expected price set by pure price competition will be whatever bare subsistence costs

        The expected price will be the Nth highest benefit of any employer of employing such a person, where N is the number of people on earth capable of doing the job. Any lower, and some other employer will benefit from hiring the employee at a higher pay. Globalization increases N, but it also increases the number of companies that can employ you.

        • That's "supply and demand". Labor is a resource just like anything else. As long as the supply of unskilled labor outpaces demand, wages (price) will not increase.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is why most large cities have regulated taxi services. The end result is effectively similar to a union... driving a taxi provides livable wage. Or at least it has so far, until Uber, etc, eat their lunch.

      It's incredible how people talk on-and-on about how the working class keeps getting shafted, but when it comes to supporting things like unions (public or private) or supporting things like Uber, they are incapable of putting two-and-two together.

      Don't get me wrong. I think Uber is cool, and am glad i

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        Unions and/or licensing/regulation artificially limit and control the labor supply, artificially raising the price of the service. It is by nature inefficient at a minimum, but it usually goes beyond that to become corrupt and protect vested interests at the cost of consumer value.

        People need to stop looking at "jobs" as a product, or "living wages" as an entitlement. If you really want "living wages" for every job, you're going to make a huge swath of work illegal. We've already done that, which is why y
        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 24, 2013 @06:31PM (#45229477)

          I wasn't aware that the laws of biology and physics had been canceled. Can you forward the memo?

          A living wage is just that, the minimum wage on which people can LIVE. If a living wage is not paid by one's employer, the person must either die or receive the missing portion from another source. Right now that other source is the state in the form of food stamps and other benefits. Employers know that. McDonald's and Wal-Mart have entire departments dedicated to helping their workers get whatever they refuse to pay them from the state.

          McDonald's bitches that if they paid a living wage the price of a BigMac would go up by whatever and the consumer would therefore have to pay more. Guess what? The consumer ALREADY pays more in the form of taxes that are then used to pay for benefits that help poorly paid MCDonald's employees.
          And in reality McDonald's doesn't have to raise prices. They can also lower their profits (i.e. allocate more of their earnings towards paying for labor). They can afford it. There is no doubt about that.

          • McDonald's franchises do not make obscene profit margins, typicaly 10% which is average for the business sector. I know your socialism 101 professor told you that McDonalds has a 20% margin but they don't run stores just sell franchising opportunities and rent the buildings and land to the business owners. Doubling the franchise owner's employees wages would lead to a 30% increase in cost of their product. Mcdonlads franchises make 50 - 100k in profits a year off a 1.5 - 2 million dollar investment which me
    • by stenvar (2789879)

      As long as the money is concentrated in very few hands,

      It isn't. Even if it were, what does it have to do with Uber? What's driving down the wages in this case is that these drivers are offering a service that requires little special training and has a low cost of entry. Historically, through rent seeking and monopolization, they have been able to fleece their customers. Now that there is actual competition, their wages decrease, as they should. I as a customer do not owe a cab driver a good income, I owe h

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        It isn't. Even if it were, what does it have to do with Uber? What's driving down the wages in this case is that these drivers are offering a service that requires little special training and has a low cost of entry. Historically, through rent seeking and monopolization, they have been able to fleece their customers. Now that there is actual competition, their wages decrease, as they should. I as a customer do not owe a cab driver a good income, I owe him exactly and only as much as the cheapest guy willing

        • by stenvar (2789879)

          For now. Because unless you can pick drivers, the better way to "strike" is to do stuff where there's a lot of flexibility. There are plenty of ways to protest that will hurt Uber more. Like poor pre-planning - getting "lost" or purposely driving into gridlock which can turn a 20 minute car ride into a 40 minutes or more. Or taking roundabout routes, or driving dangerously, etc.

          You'll get bad ratings or reported to the police. Good luck with that.

          Right now things are good because it's early. Once greed and

  • ...having a Democracy and no one votes. But with less spin and less FOX news.

    Obligatory /. car analogy, tumblrwords, kitten photo link, memegenerator pic, #whogivesafuck
  • Quite the opposite of what happens when a government monopoly on things has their labor go on strike, like mail (pre-internet, when it was really needed) or public transportation of today, the consumer has plenty of other choices and they exercise them.

    Unfortunately, in the case of cabs, the big alternative is a government enforced heavily restricted set of providers (a peek at the Boston version here [cityofboston.gov]).
    • by iluvcapra (782887) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @02:33PM (#45226733)

      Quite the opposite of what happens when a government monopoly on things has their labor go on strike, like mail (pre-internet, when it was really needed) or public transportation of today

      It's a little scary to see a commenter automatically assume that the only people who ever go on strike are government workers -- proud private sector union employee here. The Taft-Hartley Act had the effect, in the US, of slowly killing the private sector union and leaving only government employees organized, so that union formation became a privilege or a bennie, as opposed to a protected right of anyone who works.

      This is exactly how actions against private firms are supposed to operate. Uber drivers strike or boycott against Uber, a competitor snags available clients until Uber and the drivers reach an agreement. The fact that all Uber drivers are on the Internet makes them easier to organize, but it makes a picket harder to enforce: how do the strikers know for sure their buddy isn't taking Uber work while they're on "strike?"

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        The Taft-Hartley Act had the effect, in the US, of slowly killing the private sector union and leaving only government employees organized, so that union formation became a privilege or a bennie, as opposed to a protected right of anyone who works.

        Taft Hartley doesn't prevent workers from organizing, it limits the ability of unions from imposing their views on workers who don't share them. Since there seem to be enough of those to make unions much less effective, they have been declining in power.

        but it mak

        • I actually work under a union (SEIU 503):

          My union doesn't impose their views on me - I'm not sure how that would actually work. They do send out a newsletter - I can either read it or not. Contrary to what you may think they don't shout their beliefs over loudspeaker.

          You can't do anything (really) to prevent someone from crossing the line, but you can make it more difficult. While your co-workers are out working hard to keep management from decreasing your pay you sit on your ass reaping the benefits.

          On you

          • by stenvar (2789879)

            My union doesn't impose their views on me - I'm not sure how that would actually work.

            Well, that's because we have Taft Hartley, right to work, and a lot of other laws restricting the power of unions.

            Unions worked hard for the weekend - remember that any time you have a day off.

            The 5 day, 40h work week was introduced by Ford in 1926 in order to increase productivity, under no pressure from unions.

            http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/HENRY_FORD:_Why_I_Favor_Five_Days'_Work_With_Six_Days'_Pay [wikisource.org]

            In different words, you'

            • by iluvcapra (782887) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @08:05PM (#45230029)

              The 5 day, 40h work week was introduced by Ford in 1926 in order to increase productivity, under no pressure from unions.

              Well, that's what he said, anyways, obviously he'd have a pretty good reason not to seem stampeded into it. Unions had been agitating for a five-day week for decades and he didn't invent the thing, it was common the textile industry since the aughts, mainly because a significant number of Jews were involved in needle trades and they wanted to have Saturdays off for the sabbath. (Ford was of course a terrific anti-Semite, so this probably wasn't his justification.)

              The catch with all of Ford's labor innovations were that they were always understood to be a gift on his part. It had to be his idea, and his time to give. The suggestion that labor had earned it, or that it was their due, was out of the question, and he reserved the right to withdraw his liberal labor practices at a moment's notice if anything displeased him.

              A lot like Disney later on, he took the organizing of his business as a personal betrayal, because he'd always seen himself not as an employer or an economic actor, but as a sort of father who, through his benevolence, had earned the right to tell people how to live their lives. This was the same guy that mandated his employees go to dances, took it upon himself to organize their social lives and wasn't afraid of firing people for looking funny or having heterodox opinions. Unions are completely antithetical to this idea -- you should be able to live however you damn please and win high wages and benefits not as some gift, but through hard bargaining.

              • by stenvar (2789879)

                Your misrepresentations and the moderation of my factual response shows again that union supporters are a bunch of thugs. Thanks for confirming that part too.

          • by BitZtream (692029)

            You can't do anything (really) to prevent someone from crossing the line, but you can make it more difficult. While your co-workers are out working hard to keep management from decreasing your pay you sit on your ass reaping the benefits.

            Wow, just wow. I would LOVE to see you say that to the Teamsters union. Next thing you know, you're ass will be wearing cement shoes and talking to fish.

            Unions worked hard for the weekend - remember that any time you have a day off.

            Yea, because ... wait, what? Unions have nothing to do with the work week. There is absolutely nothing that prevents a company from requiring you to work more than 40 hours, and many many do, even those with unions.

            The 40 hour work week can be traced back to Ford Motors, who found that by working 40 hour weeks, rotating shifts, and shutting down the mai

            • by iluvcapra (782887) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @11:49PM (#45231061)

              Wow, just wow. I would LOVE to see you say that to the Teamsters union. Next thing you know, you're ass will be wearing cement shoes and talking to fish

              Stop watching TV and restrict your comments to things that happen in the real world.

              The 40 hour work week can be traced back to Ford Motors, who found that by working 40 hour weeks

              Uh, the 8 hour day can be traced, in American history, to labor agitation going back to the 1830s. The AFL made an 8 hour day part of its platform in 1886. The United Mine Workers won an 8 hour day through collective bargaining in 1898, and many organized skilled trades won an 8 hour day around this period. Citing Ford as the creator of the 8 hour day is like saying John Glenn invented powered flight. Ford, at best, was an 8-hour day concern troll who undertook the change to mollify trade unionists who were attempting to organize the auto industry at the time.

              Who the fuck are you to tell someone else what they can and can't do.

              Well, the capitalist/propertarian status quo ante is based on the idea that "you can tell someone else what they can and can't do" if you're an employer, because you own. Trade unionism is a reaction to that, it's based on the idea that a union can tell someone else what they can and can't do because it has strength in numbers, and it fights for a just cause: for a fair and equitable stake for labor. Both positions are founded in moral sentiments.

              This shithead mentality is why states started with the whole right-to-work thing, effectively destroying the functionality of the union.

              The "right-to-work thing" traces its roots to the fact that wage-earning is considered socially low-status in the south, to the extent that politicians could kick factory workers in the teeth and nobody would raise a finger in protest. There was also the fear at the time that African-Americans would begin to join unions, as the racist attitude that had prevailed in organized labor through the first half of the century abated, and that they would serve as a cradle for racial "agitation" and activism.

        • by iluvcapra (782887)

          Taft Hartley doesn't prevent workers from organizing, it limits the ability of unions from imposing their views on workers who don't share them. Since there seem to be enough of those to make unions much less effective, they have been declining in power.

          The operative parts of Taft-Hartley here would be:

          1) The sanction of "Right to Work" laws and jurisdictions, which abridge the right to contract. If you own a company in a right-to-work state, the you're surrounded by a magic bubble that makes it impossibl

          • Taft Hartley doesn't prevent workers from organizing, it limits the ability of unions from imposing their views on workers who don't share them. Since there seem to be enough of those to make unions much less effective, they have been declining in power.

            The operative parts of Taft-Hartley here would be:

            1) The sanction of "Right to Work" laws and jurisdictions, which abridge the right to contract. If you own a company in a right-to-work state, the you're surrounded by a magic bubble that makes it impossible for you to ever sign a contract of adhesion with labor. Any other company can compel whatever terms they please -- cable companies have contract rights than employees.

            They don't at all abridge the right to contract. They just abridge the right of certain employees to force _other_ employees to contract. It's non-right-to-work jurisdictions that abridge the right to contract, by prohibiting employers from choosing NOT to contract.

            • by iluvcapra (782887)

              Nah nah, you don't understand what a right-to-work law is. It means an employer cannot require that you be a member of a labor org in order to work. Under current US labor law, there are no true closed shops, and a unions is required to offer membership to a nonmember employee once he's worked in the shop for more than 90 days.

              An employee doesn't have a contract with the union that lets you work -- I'm an IA brother, and I have no contract with the IA -- the employer has a contract with the union that re

              • I'd be fine with dropping right to work laws, if we at the same time dropped the laws that required companies to negotiate with unions. So long as we're keeping laws that tell employers "you aren't free to refuse to sign contracts that aren't done on an individual basis," then leaving employees free to say that they don't want to be part of the union seems entirely reasonable.
                • by iluvcapra (782887)

                  I'd be fine with dropping right to work laws, if we at the same time dropped the laws that required companies to negotiate with unions

                  While we're at it, we should drop the laws that require companies to negotiate with their vendors. They should be able to name their price and get whatever they want :)

                  This is special pleading on your part -- everybody acknowledges that corporations must negotiate with each other, as must individuals, but somehow for you, unions are different and their rights may be disrega

                  • I'd be fine with dropping right to work laws, if we at the same time dropped the laws that required companies to negotiate with unions

                    While we're at it, we should drop the laws that require companies to negotiate with their vendors. They should be able to name their price and get whatever they want :)

                    This is special pleading on your part -- everybody acknowledges that corporations must negotiate with each other, as must individuals, but somehow for you, unions are different and their rights may be disregarded.

                    Companies are free to tell a vendor: $x per unit - take it, or we find another vendor. They're not free to tell a union - $x per hour, take it, or we find new employees.

            • by iluvcapra (782887)

              Here, wiki has an okay overview [wikipedia.org]. The system used to be more like you describe, between the passage of the Wagner Act and Taft-Hartley, but since the lat 1940s there've been no closed shops. Neither an employer nor a union can force you to join a union, at best they can make you pay an agency fee, which are dues less whatever the union spends on political action.

              Compare this with the rights of a shareholder, who nominally is free to invest or not, but has no say over how his investment is used for politic

          • by stenvar (2789879)

            The sanction of "Right to Work" laws and jurisdictions, which abridge the right to contract

            Yes, we restrict the right to contract in certain ways. For example, you can't make a contract selling yourself into slavery. You can't make a contract charging unreasonable interest. And you can't make a "closed shop contract", for pretty much the same reasons. Note that the EU court of human rights has found that closed shop agreements violate freedom of association, so the US is hardly alone in this.

            • by iluvcapra (782887)

              Yes, we restrict the right to contract in certain ways. For example, you can't make a contract selling yourself into slavery

              The equation of a union security agreement with slavery is ridiculous and morally revolting. On the one hand we have generations under the lash, a decrepit neo-feudal economy, institutionalized rape, and genocide; and on the other hand, we have double time on Sundays. The comparison is idiotic.

              Closed shops are not required for unions to work, unions as we know them are dispensable,

              • by stenvar (2789879)

                The equation of a union security agreement with slavery is ridiculous and morally revolting.

                Save me your faux outrage. The point is that there are many kinds of contracts that are prohibited by law because they are deemed to have undesirable consequences. Closed shop agreements are in that category. There is no absolute freedom to write any contract you like.

                Furthermore, union security contracts are considered a violation of the European convention of human rights because it interferes with an individual's

      • Quite the opposite of what happens when a government monopoly on things has their labor go on strike, like mail (pre-internet, when it was really needed) or public transportation of today

        It's a little scary to see a commenter automatically assume that the only people who ever go on strike are government workers -- proud private sector union employee here. The Taft-Hartley Act had the effect, in the US, of slowly killing the private sector union and leaving only government employees organized, so that union formation became a privilege or a bennie, as opposed to a protected right of anyone who works.

        This is exactly how actions against private firms are supposed to operate. Uber drivers strike or boycott against Uber, a competitor snags available clients until Uber and the drivers reach an agreement. The fact that all Uber drivers are on the Internet makes them easier to organize, but it makes a picket harder to enforce: how do the strikers know for sure their buddy isn't taking Uber work while they're on "strike?"

        Okay, then substitute my examples with AT&T back when they were the government protected monopoly for long distance service in the US. Consumers did not have an easy alternative if they went on strike. In the current environment, they do, and Taft-Hartley has precious little if anything to do with that.

        • by iluvcapra (782887)

          You're aware that a strike doesn't have to act on a monopoly in order to be a strike, right? Most strikes don't.

          A few years ago I picketed a studio that was hiring non-IATSE crews for projects paid for under a distribution agreement with NBC [deadline.com], a violation of NBC's contract. It was effective, it was definitely a strike, an no consumers were affected. Or do you think unions exist only to immiserate consumers?

          • You're aware that a strike doesn't have to act on a monopoly in order to be a strike, right?

            Yes and I never said a word to indicate that I thought anything like that.

            • by iluvcapra (782887)
              I'm not sure what your point is then... All your examples of strikes involve monopolies and service disruptions.
  • by timeOday (582209) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @02:25PM (#45226627)
    Are they still trying to maintain the transparent fiction that this is anything but a taxi company that doesn't want to be called one, for regulatory purposes? They talk about driver earnings per hour, yet want to be treated like some college buddies carpooling home for thanksgiving break. It's a crock.
    • Have to agree.

      Look, nobody likes taxes, licensing restrictions, having to clean your car, or requiring you don't just hang out at the airport where people will pay tons of money.

      The reasons we have those is that unlicensed cabs were a big problem.

      What gets me is how many people around here actually drive to the airport, with just one bag, when it's usually faster and easier to take the light rail or bus there, instead of paying $20.

      • Two kids, one cake (Score:5, Informative)

        by Okian Warrior (537106) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @02:54PM (#45226999) Homepage Journal

        Look, nobody likes taxes, licensing restrictions, having to clean your car, or requiring you don't just hang out at the airport where people will pay tons of money.

        The reasons we have those is that unlicensed cabs were a big problem.

        Unlicensed cabs were a big problem because cabs and customers were not regulated.

        The government stepped in and cleaned up the cabs, enforcing a standard of quality control of the cabbies but not the customers. It's the "regulation" model, and it was appropriate for its time, but it only addressed half the issue: a customer could jump out and run away without paying, could slit the seat, could vomit in the seat, or do other unsavory things.

        Over time the regulation became less enforced, watered down, corrupt, and fewer people cared. This has resulted in the situation we have now, where many cabs are filthy and disgusting, the cabbie will screw you out of money in various ways (jimming the meter, taking the long route, &c), and it's not particularly safe.

        In game theory terms, it's two kids dividing a cake: mom tells one kid to divide the cake equally, then leaves.

        With the rise of ubiquitous communication we can now go to a newer model: both cabbies and customers can be vetted by the system. The cabbies are reviewed by the feedback of customers, and the customers are reviewed by the cabbies. Anyone who slits a seat or vomits will get a bad review and won't have access to the drivers in the future. Anyone who drives a filthy car will get a bad review and not have access to passengers in the future.

        The game-theory model is different. Instead of one side promising to obey regulation, it's two sides regulating each other. It's the "one child divides the cake, the other child chooses which piece to eat" model.

        This is an example of bad regulation which stifles innovation. Cab regulation ensured quality and was done with the best of intentions, but it's been subverted and there's now a better way.

        We should embrace the better way.

        • by c0d3g33k (102699)

          That's pretty much how Airbnb works, and the experience so far has been a joy. Two thumbs up for the better way.

        • Kind of like how a "better way" for books led to a cottage industry in the creation of positive book reviews...

          Books, mind you, have the distinct advantage of not having a large knife in the glove box.
        • Yeah so that sounds nice, but the law is the law. The "right" thing to do is to get rid of the original regulation. If the system you describe is so great then no one will have a problem with that. You can't just allow some cab companies to skirt the law and not others.
      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        It's hard to predict your arrival times, so I tend to take a shuttle service when going to the airport while giving them the time my flight leaves so they plan it, but when returning home I'll take the light rail since it doesn't matter if I'm late.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They talk about driver earnings per hour, yet want to be treated like some college buddies carpooling home for thanksgiving break

      They recruit "customers" by pretending to be a ride board. They recruit "drivers" by pretending to be a cab company. Many businesses recruit customers by pretending to be their friend, to want a special relationship with the individual customer, so there's nothing specially surprising about that.

      Their relationship to their drivers is much more interesting. They're not trying to recruit full-time drivers, but just people looking to make some extra money in their spare time, which is a very different relat

  • by Anonymous Coward

    3/5 of links are back to slashdot
    1/5 link to twitter ("according to local media")
    1/5 link to a blog ("a blog posting") which I can't load at the moment.

    While I do like seeing how slashdot stories interconnect, I would like to get outside opinions as well. Preferably more informative ones than a blog and twitter post.

  • To wit: strikes require firm, centralized control to take effect, because there are almost always defectors, people at the desperate end of the bell curve who will defect for personal gain.

    Then again, the logic of a strike is such that either:
    a) it's broadly sustainable, even with a few defections, because the working conditions/pay are bad enough that improvement is generally recognized to be needed, or
    b) it's only sustainable with strongarm central enforcement, in which case a strike is more a matter of e

    • by stenvar (2789879)

      Yes, and (a) is a good strike, one that helps workers, employers, and buyers to reach an equitable and efficient agreement. But (b) is not just "coercion", it is blackmail by a special interest group; it's little different from the mafia.

  • look at pizza where they pay low and don't really pay the costs of useing a car much less auto insurance that covers pizza drivers.

    http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Texas-Family-Awarded-32M-in-Deadly-Dominos-Delivery-Crash-221784091.html [nbcdfw.com]

    • by stenvar (2789879)

      Seems to me that a $32M judgment against Domino's will provide a strong incentive to actually fix this. And if they don't and another accident happens, judges and juries will give even harsher sentences.

      So what exactly is the problem?

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        When someone has to die to address the problem, there's a problem. When you advocate a chain of deaths to fix the problem, that's a problem.
        • by stenvar (2789879)

          Oh, stop being such an disingenuous ass. I didn't "advocate a chain of deaths" to fix anything. People will die no matter what; the question is how we can minimize deaths. You seem to live in a dream world where inspections and fines prevent deaths, but companies laugh at them. They'll pay the silly little fines and go on doing whatever is cheapest. The threat of a $38M judgment, on the other hand, is quite a strong deterrent.

          • by AK Marc (707885)
            So increase fines and kill fewer people.
            • by stenvar (2789879)

              Tell you what: you work out the level of fines and enforcement needed to provide the same deterrent effect as a $38M judgment, and then we can talk again about which approach is more rational and effective.

    • by Kurast (1662819)

      And I have yet to understand why pizzas are delivered in the US using cars, instead of motorcycles or bikes like the rest of the world.

      • Because delivery drivers use their personal vehicle, they usually only have one personal vehicle, and it's usually a car.

      • As a former pizza delivery driver, I can tell you that motorcycles or bikes just wouldn't work.
        It's raining out? No pizza for you. Snowing, you also gotta come pick it up yourself. Really cold out? Really hot out? No delivery.
        You'd like 6 large pies, 6 2L bottles of soda, and a couple order of wings and breadsticks? Sure, we'll bring it by in 3 deliveries.
        Also, I can't imagine the additional airflow resulting from not being enclosed in a passenger compartment will do wonders to keep your pizza piping hot
        • You'd like 6 large pies, 6 2L bottles of soda, and a couple order of wings and breadsticks? Sure, we'll bring it by in 3 deliveries.

          Alternate solution: Sure, let me just put on my aviator goggles and scarf, then load up my sidecar here...

        • As a motorcyclist -
          Rain and cold are doable (for ever so slightly more money, for cold weather gear).
          Snow is not, just not enough people with the equipment and skill to do it safely.
          Large deliveries are doable, with mild modifications to the bike. My bike has a luggage mount that could be fitted with a cage that could hold 8-12 pies or so. You could fit 15lbs or so of stuff on the tail, and use a tank bag for transaction material. Most bikes could reasonably handle 150lbs of cargo, which is way more than
        • Most pizza delivery motorcycles have a large enclosed box on the back that can hold a stack of pizzas. It's thick, insulated, plastic and so keeps them warm. You seem to be missing the grandparent's 'like the rest of the world' comment when you say that motorcycles 'just wouldn't work'. They do in a lot of places...
        • by lxs (131946)

          It's raining out? No pizza for you. Snowing, you also gotta come pick it up yourself. Really cold out? Really hot out? No delivery.

          The entire US population must be really spoiled and lazy, because in the rest of the world a guy on a scooter will deliver your order in all those conditions.

          Also, I can't imagine the additional airflow resulting from not being enclosed in a passenger compartment will do wonders to keep your pizza piping hot while it travels to your residence.

          They have insulated boxes on the bac [blogspot.com]

          • The entire US population must be really spoiled and lazy, because in the rest of the world a guy on a scooter will deliver your order in all those conditions.

            Scooters? ... Scooters???

            I don't know how it works over on your side of the pond, but here, most pizza delivery drivers are male. And again, I don't know how it works over there, but here, guys on scooters are mocked relentlessly. Scooters are fundamentally incompatible with the traditional American mentality. We have cycles with 8.2L V10 engines [iliketowastemytime.com], and you expect us to ride scooters?!

            I'm sure that someone that owns one of these [blogspot.com], these [crotchrocketguide.com], or these [bikeexif.com] would just love to bolt one of those awesome looking insula

  • Nothing of substance to add.

  • ...what the hell any of this is or means. What is Uber? What is it doing that's illegal? What is a sharing economy? Who's giving out free cab rides? I'm someone who lives in a 100,000 person city where you just call the damn cab company on the phone and they show up and 99.9% of cars on the road are not cabs.
  • It's funny how none of this on either side mentions what the actual rates are.

    Anybody know?

    • by jtara (133429)

      As I understand it, these are all drivers/cars that are licensed to carry the public - either "black cars" (licensed livery drivers in licensed livery cars) or licensed taxi drivers driving licensed taxis. These can be fairly costly licenses to maintain, and so I have to assume these are full-time drivers.

      Why is there a controversy over rates?

      These drivers are using UberX to fill-in when they don't have any full-fare opportunities. They can take it or leave it, it's up to them.

      I think there is some confusio

  • The free market (a subset of freedom, and, as China is showing, possibly the single most important one, if measuring increasing lifespans is your primary metric, as all caring folk do) responds to inefficiencies.

    Once again the difference between the concepts of freedom and democracy appears.

    You regularly see politicians talk about the holiness of spreading democracy, and rarely of freedom, because freedom means freedom from them. "Democracy" is just the modern twist where they have an additional vote layer

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Resort to force.

    Here in Spain something similar happened.

    The air traffic controllers had been negotiating some working conditions for a year, after such the government(state run ariports) essentially said "you get nothing and what are you going to do ,uh?".So the air controllers went on strike.

    What follows is a massive propaganda campaign demonicing them and saying they are overpayed and basically cheating everyone else out of their tax money.

    Ah, they also declared state of emergency, for the sacond time

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