s most readers of this blog know, the Ninth Circuit will soon be deciding Seattle’s authorization to implement its recently enacted ordinance, which permits collective bargaining among drivers in their bargains with Uber and similar firms. In March of last year, the Chamber of Commerce sued the city of Seattle, claiming (among other things) that Section 1 of the Sherman Act’s prohibition of “combination[s] … in restraint of trade or commerce” preempts the ordinance. More recently, the district court granted Seattle’s motion to dismiss, permitting the ordinance to go forward under the state action exemption, under which a state (and its political subdivisions, when authorized by the state) may regulate a domain in a way that “displaces competition.”
On Tuesday, Deliveroo - an online on-demand food delivery company currently operating in 11 countries - won a UK court decision that frees the company from the responsibility of offering minimum wages and holiday pay to their bike-riding delivery workers (or “riders”). On the very same day, Deliveroo riders in the Netherlands took to the streets of Amsterdam to voice their dissatisfaction with the company’s recent decision to abolish employment contracts. The workforce of 1,750 riders in the Netherlands will need to register as independent contractors if they wish to continue delivering food for Deliveroo. Are the critics right that Deliveroo is “gaming the system”, and do riders want what they cannot get?
Tax reform is in the air. On Thursday, November 9, Senate Republicans released a Description of the Chairman’s Mark (prepared by the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT)), which contains in substance the Senate version of proposed tax reform legislation. Among other things, that JCT description stated that the bill would clarify the treatment of many workers as independent contractors by providing a safe harbor that, if satisfied, would guarantee such treatment. But in the modification to the Chairman’s Mark released on November 14, that safe harbor provision was stricken from the Senate bill.
In Brazil, the largest gig-economy company is the transportation app Uber, with more than...