Voters across the United States made their voices heard on more than who they wanted to fill various political offices this past Election Day. Some of those election results could have a lasting impact on “gig economy” workers, technology companies and more, Pitchbook reports.
For example, in California Proposition 22 (Prop-22) passed with more than 58% of the vote, which was good for gig economy workers such as Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart employees. Prop-22 pushed to allow these workers to be treated as contractors instead of full-time employees. With Prop-22’s passing, the aforementioned companies will be exempt from a law California passed last year that made it more difficult for companies to classify their workers as contractors. It is important to understand that most drivers didn’t want to be classified as employees which allows them to work when and if they please and to work for more than one service. Apparently the voters agreed with them.
Although Prop-22 passed, the fight isn’t over yet for gig economy employees, according to Pitchbook. New York is in a similar battle over contract worker classification, while technology platforms contend with the state’s minimum wage laws.
“Ultimately these are all opt-in services for workers and customers, so let’s let these services further develop and the labor will flow to the companies treating contractors the best,” Shawn Carolan, a partner with Menlo Ventures and an early investor in Uber who supported Proposition 22 told Pitchbook.
The sigh of relief gig economy company investors let out when Prop-22 passed is a reminder of how important companies like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash have become to people’s everyday life. That importance should also be a reminder to commercial real owners of how critical it is to have good cell phone connectivity. Chances are tenants are using the apps on their cell phone rather than websites their desk or laptops to make arrangements for a ride, food delivery, etc. If a tenant has to leave the building to use their phone in order to get good cell service, a CRE owner’s days of maintaining that lease could be numbered. The more dependent people become on their cell phones to make orders, the better an in-building wireless network has to be.
Good Election Day for broadband in Chicago and Denver
Broadband was on the ballot in Denver and Chicago on Election Day. Denver voters were asked if the city should be permitted to invest in broadband Internet and services. Doing so would make it possible to create an Internet utility. Meanwhile there was a non-binding ballot question in Chicago that asked voters about a citywide effort to guarantee that every resident could have high-speed Internet access. The proposals passed in both cities.
Internet access expansion is not just a win for residents, but also the tech industry. Denver’s passage gives it the right to invest in broadband—it’s not obligated to do so. Meanwhile, public officials in Chicago will be expected to move forward with broadband access in a timely manner.
The importance of fast, reliable Internet has become more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic as many people have been working or studying remotely for months. If Denver is successful in creating an Internet utility, other cities might be encouraged to do the same.
Joe Dyton can be reached at email@example.com.