In a highly anticipated speech on economic policy at the progressive New School in New York, Ny. on Monday, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had some sharp words of criticism for vastly popular companies Uber and Lyft.
“Many Americans are making extra money renting out a small room, designing websites, selling products they design themselves at home, or even driving their own car,” the former Secretary of State said. “This on-demand, or so-called ‘gig economy,’ is creating exciting opportunities and unleashing innovation. But it’s also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future.”
“Fair pay and fair scheduling, paid family leave and earned sick days, child care are essential to our competitiveness and growth,” Clinton added, eyeing companies like Uber that not offer benefits for its drivers who work as private contractors for the driving service.
Since it was founded in March 2009, Uber has quickly grown to become one of the most successful companies in the United States. As of March of this year, there are more Uber drivers than cab drivers in New York City. Unlike traditional cab services, Uber utilizes the local population as its “private contractors”/drivers and uses innovative technology so that with the simple click of “Request Uber,” people can get anywhere they want to go.
Personally, Uber has been a God-send. Since moving to Washington, DC for a summer internship, I cannnot tell you how many times I’ve taken an Uber. Whether I’m making a trip to the grocery store with my roommates or running late for work, Uber has helped me get from point A to point B on various occasions.
For those who have never used the driving service, all you have to do is download the Uber app, create an account, and load your credit card information. Once you’ve done that, you merely open the app, click “Request Uber,” enter your destination, and then your driver will be there to pick you up in a matter of minutes. If you’re riding with friends, you can split the fare with them by the click of a button.
Whenever I take an Uber, I always talk with my driver. The majority of the time, they drive for Uber on the side to make a little extra, but occasionally you’ll meet a person who does it full-time. Not once have I ever encountered a driver who hates Uber. Each time, the driver tells me how much they love driving for Uber, setting their own schedule, meeting new people, and truly embracing the independence that comes with the company.
Millennials love Uber. It’s innovative, relatively cheap (especially if you’re riding with other people), easy to use, and hassle free. There’s no calling a cab, dolling out cash and figuring out who owes what, and waiting a long time for your car. Uber eliminates all of that, and people love it.
As a Millennial, I think it is a grave mistake for Mrs. Clinton to attack such innovative companies that my generation– one that Clinton will need strong support from to win in 2016– relies on so strongly. While most young people might like the sound of $15 an hour minimum wage, they undoubtedly won’t like the sounds of an anti-Uber candidate.