At the end of February, an impassioned op-ed appeared in The Chicago Crusader, a well-established Black newspaper in the city. Titled “Why Independent Workers Want to Stay Independent,” the op-ed
argued that gig economy companies like Uber and Lyft are a “lifeline” to communities of color by providing “a flexible way to work.”
One week later the exact same op-ed
was published in the bilingual El Dia Newspaper. Two months later, a version
of it appeared again in Crain’s Chicago Business newspaper.
Similar articles and op-eds riffing on the theme of “protecting” independent work have popped up in local publications all over the country, from Colorado to Massachusetts to New Jersey to New York.
In some of these states the articles have a common thread: Their authors represent organizations that serve communities of color and have received recent donations from Lyft, and in some cases Uber or DoorDash.
The op-eds are one facet of a multimillion-dollar lobbying campaign aimed at fighting regulations that would require the companies to treat drivers and delivery workers as full-fledged employees. Over the past several months, news outlets have detailed political action committees
set up by Uber and Lyft in New York
. The Markup found that the practice was even wider spread, occurring in other states and often involving alliances with local community groups….