Not surprisingly, Uber, Instacart and Homejoy came out to pay their "contractors" the least, with the average Uber driver making less than $10/hour after all the out-of-pocket expenses (such as car, insurance, fuel) had been calculated.
According to Sherpa Share, 65% of Uber drivers also used other platforms to earn income, such as Lyft and Sidecar; therefore, more than half of Uber drivers were working more than a full-time shift with all the transportation platforms combined, rather than as a part-time side-gig.
In the past, entrepreneurs have typically solved problems in society that changed people's lives for the better, not perpetuated the mentality of slave-wage labourers in the Industrial and Post-Industrial Eras.
If a company that has a valuation higher than 80% of the companies in the S&P (e.g. Uber) says that the drivers who work for them are not exploited under-wage workers but "contractors" who make less than minimum wage (after all their out-of-pocket costs have been subtracted) then what sort of example are we setting for the next generation of thought-leaders?
For entrepreneurs like John Mackey, who is a supporter of "conscious capitalism"; he has said in his book that, “Our belief is that if a company does an outstanding job caring for its team members, creating value for them, and respecting them as key stakeholders, it can successfully avoid unionization.” -Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business
In a similiar vein, the CEO of Costco, Craig Jelinek has said, "I just think people need to make a living wage with health benefits. It also puts more money back into the economy and creates a healthier country. It’s really that simple."
We are living in exciting times because in our current era, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are more powerful and influential than politicians. In comparison, politics is filled with corruption, lobbyists, underhanded deals and payoffs, in addition to being extremely slow at creating any kind of change. If we were to set an example for how our nations should be, we should seek to ask venture capital groups and startup accelerators, such as Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins and Union Square Ventures, in addition to startup accelerators such as Y-Combinator, TechStars and the individual Founders of startups, how to create an ecosystem of "conscious capitalism," instead of seeking to perpetuate the exploitation of the working class.
By Sierra Choi, Director of Marketing
NOTE: Homejoy will be shutting down on July 31, 2015 after being inundated with multiple lawsuits from contractors who wanted to be classified as "employees".