After months of bellyaching and backlash against Uber across Europe, the ride-sharing company is taking its fight to the top. The FT:
Germany’s ban on an Uber service faces a probe by the European Commission, as the US ride-hailing company called on Brussels to help in its fight with national regulators on the continent.[…]
Increasingly, the company has pinned its hopes on regulation from Brussels, rather than engaging in a protracted struggle with individual regulators across the EU’s 28 countries. […]
Uber said: “We’re a digital intermediary yet transportation laws dating back to the ’50s are being applied in Germany. Such outdated regulations are being used to protect established players from competition, rather than benefit many more people.”
Uber’s move to appeal to the European Commission may foreshadow what’s in store for the company in its own backyard. Though the California Labor Commission ruled that Uber drivers are not independent contractors—as the company and many of its drivers believe—but employees, another classification hearing is set to be held in the Federal District Court of Northern California starting on August 6.
In Europe and the U.S., complaints about Uber and its peer companies often hinge on regulatory frameworks that are both outmoded and, inasmuch as good regulations aim to create efficiencies, ineffectual. Shifts in the labor market, spawned by technological innovation and changes in consumer preferences that result from those innovations, are real and should be met with corresponding shifts in policy. As the national spotlight focuses on the sharing economy and we await the ruling in California, policymakers and presidential hopefuls should allow for nuance in their positions.