San Francisco, CA – The ubiquitous gig economy giant Uber Technologies (NYSE: UBER) has announced their intention to move their headquarters from San Francisco to a new location where officers believe the firm can operate outside of California’s harsh regulatory treatment of involuntary servitude. The company has not officially announced the location of their new offices, but industry insiders believe it will likely be either in the southern U.S. or Libya. Both locations have a rich history of slavery, which Uber hopes to leverage to bolster their balance sheets by the end of 2021.
Over the last three years California has made it more and more difficult to operate a slaving trade, putting immense pressure on gig plantations like Upwork, Instacart, and Task Rabbit. Ride sharing companies Uber and Lyft teamed up last year to push back against the regulation, initiating Proposition 22.
California’s Proposition 22 aims to exempt workers for ride share companies like Uber and Lyft (NASDAQ: LYFT) from being considered “full-time employees,” and instead be considered “three-fifths employees.” At the time, industry representatives felt that the three-fifths figure offered a compromise between the ride share companies and their drivers. The proposition passed in 2020 with over 58% of the vote and has held up against court challenges where detractors have pointed out that exit polls showed over 40% of voters thought that they were actually calling for an Uber to take them home from their polling place, not voting for a piece of state legislation. However, despite the success of the proposition, Uber continues to move to see how else they can take advantage of their multitude of drivers.
“While Proposition 22 helped us continue to exploit people with little to no other employment options, it quite frankly just isn’t enough,” said Uber CFO Nelson Chai, “We are still only able to take 25% of the driving fees, which is leaving us with only a little over $11 billion in revenue this year. That’s just not acceptable. We are leaving 75 cents for every dollar on the table.”
Uber and Lyft have both expressed interest in improving their Triangle Exchange by directing more of the ride fees to go directly to their company coffers instead of their drivers. Uber is taking the first step by relocating their offices to a location where they can more easily thwart driver rebellion efforts.
“I don’t need to tell you that we are doing all of this for our drivers, or our ‘independent contractors’” Chai said with a wink, “they are the backbone of our company and Uber is committed to making them feel like they are important, at least until they can be replaced by self-driving cars.”
Uber shares were up 2% on the news, but most analysts expect for the company to jump higher once the final location of their headquarters is announced.