Monday, January 30, 2017

Taken for a Ride?

Tried to get clarification on the outrage against Uber's reaction to the JFK taxi strike  -- noting that the "surge" thing didn't make sense to me (it's bad that they didn't gouge people?) and that Elon "Save the Planet" Musk is also on Trump's council -- and instead of any additional information I was ripped a new one by fellow lefties. Huh?

I understand that people are mad as hell -- and I also understand that Uber doesn't necessarily have the best reputation overall. (It didn't exactly invent the gig economy, however.) But while people are applauding Lyft's donating $1 million to the ACLU -- I'd call that opportunistic, but in a good way -- somehow Uber's offer to "compensate drivers affected by the ban pro bono for the next 3 months" and a $3 million defense fund to help cover legal expenses associated with the executive order are merely cynical moves done after the fact by the company "only looking out for itself" because they need drivers? (Um, Lyft sent out an email to its customers bragging about its donation, which was made after the scandal blew up.)

I don't claim to know everything about this situation. But from what I've gathered so far it sounds like there's not a lot of "there" there except a lot of people (rightfully) angry at Donald Trump who also don't like Uber. (When I asked someone who I thought knew more about this if I was missing something, he said I wasn't -- but that "Uber really does suck.) So I will pose the same questions I did when Twitter ripped me a new one:
Can a company break a strike by a union of which it's not a member?   
Was it wrong of Uber to continue taking PROTESTERS to JFK? 
What did Lyft do during that hour? (UPDATE: I found out Lyft DID NOT honor the strike either. So the issue really was Uber's decision to NOT GOUGE customers?)
Would it have been better if Uber had left surge pricing on? 
Was the right way to protest innocent people being stranded (by Trump) at JFK to leave (innocent) people stranded at JFK? 
Should we also be boycotting Teslas -- and anything made by companies associated with Trump's economic advisory council?
Whatever the case may be, I really think we should save this pack mentality for when it really counts. Boycotting Uber may sound like slacktivism, but online protest movements can have very serious consequences and can be extremely useful. (Companies are terrified of something like this and do take notice.) But they need to be done judiciously and justly. Still open to hearing how this was.

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