Elizabeth Warren's Labor Plan Would Be Terrible For Workers

Among other things, it would end Uber as we know it.


"We cannot have a truly democratic society with so little power in the hands of working people," presidential contender Elizabeth Warren wrote in her lengthy labor plan, which she released Thursday in advance of a candidate forum hosted by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). "That's why returning power to working people will be the overarching goal of my presidency." But under the guise of empowering the working class, the Massachusetts senator's plan actually gives an awful lot of power to the federal government—and harms workers in the process. 

Warren wants to end "worker misclassification as 'independent contractors,'" by making misclassifying workers a violation of federal labor law. If she gets her way, she could kill ridesharing and other gig economy businesses.

Warren's plan proposes a federal version of California's A.B. 5, which classified Uber drivers and other gig workers as employees, not contractors. Since it wouldn't be a Warren plan without heavy union emphasis, she also notes that gig workers will be able to unionize once they're properly classified.

Backers of the California law call it a win for gig workers, arguing that workers are now guaranteed sick leave, overtime pay, and the minimum wage. Yet in practice the law makes it harder for workers to set their own hours, use a gig job as supplemental income, or work for multiple companies at once. Survey data show that these are all reasons why Uber drivers choose such work.

One result of such laws is that drivers for ridesharing services become more expensive to keep on because they now require benefits. The pool of drivers to hire would also shrink, since many people want an Uber gig for the flexibility it provides; many people are looking for an ad hoc arrangement, not full-time work. Beacon Economics LLC, a public policy research firm, estimates that a company like Lyft might hire 300,000 fewer workers in California alone due to the cost increases caused by such laws.

The costs associated with upending the ridesharing business model will also be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. With higher prices, fewer workers, and less flexible gigs, the entire ridesharing business model could collapse.

Much of Warren's proposal is framed as an attempt to ensure workers can confront unsafe, unfair, or contract-violating labor conditions. But her solution is to create a federal government that has far more authority to meddle in private arrangements. It's less about empowering workers and more about empowering federal bureaucrats.

For example, under Warren's proposal, companies that make $1 billion or more annually would be forced to add workers to their boards until they comprise 40 percent of the overall body. A corporate board is supposed to protect and maximize shareholders' assets; workers do not always have the same incentives or specialized knowledge necessary to carry out that fiduciary duty.

Warren would also raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, including for tipped workers. Warren's plan frames the new minimum wage as a way to boost worker earnings. But the most likely outcome of a national $15 minimum is that restaurants and bars—which already operate on ultra-thin margins—would pay for the higher wages by laying people off and aggressively upping menu prices.

Many workers who make the majority of their salary via tips actually want to keep it that way. When Washington, D.C., raised the tipped wage to $15 an hour, many of the city's service industry workers objected on the grounds that it would actually cost them money. The plan was eventually overturned.

Warren's plan tries to address a variety of smaller issues too, including allowing graduate students to unionize, guaranteeing fairer scheduling practices, and banning both public and private employers from asking workers about their salary history (a measure that has already been implemented in more than a dozen states). Noncompete contracts would be prohibited under a Warren presidency. These parts of the plan are basically a grab bag of policy proposals that for the most part invite even more bureaucratic intrusion into private companies' inner workings, dictating in rather specific terms what workers should want.

Warren has a whole section of her plan entitled "Increasing Worker Choice and Control" but for the most part her plan just increases the federal government's control. Workers shouldn't anticipate more choice at all, especially if they enjoy a flexible work schedule as an Uber driver or make the majority of their income via (hard-earned!) tips as a bartender. Consumers will lose out, too, in the form of higher costs for many of the services that make their lives easier and better—if those companies stay in business at all.

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  1. alt-caption: “Do you know why women are so bad at measuring things? It’s because all their lives they’ve been told this is six inches.”

    1. Rosanna Barr had a great joke like that.

      Maps must have been invented by a man. Who else would think one inch is equal to one mile?

      1. I just assumed everyone already knew that old thing.

        By that I mean my joke, not Elizabeth Warren.

        1. It’s an old joke.

          Oh, right, you were talking about your joke.

          1. Larf. Out. Loud.

    2. another alternate caption:
      “And if there is a claim that a penis, or clitoris, exceeds this reasonable size, we going to start looking at trust busting.”

      1. And eunuch comes along to ruin the joke

    3. Shes native american not asian.

  2. So Warren stands to lose the Uber driver vote.

  3. Among other things, it would end Uber as we know it.

    Unions: Feature.

  4. “We had to destroy the working class in order to save it.”

    “We had to destroy jobs in order to save the working class.”

    “We had to destroy society in order to change it, because we had fucked it up so much it sure wasn’t worth saving.” — the only version close to the truth.

    1. Á àß äẞç ãþÇđ âÞ¢Đæ ǎB€Ðëf ảhf
      October.4.2019 at 2:46 pm
      “We had to destroy the working class in order to save it.”
      “We had to destroy jobs in order to save the working class.”

      Recently had dinner at a place run as a charity (501C3); kids who have been in trouble work there for pretty much nothing.
      IOWs, M/W law means those kids now have to work for gov’t-funded outfits for starvation wages, so they think gov’t-funded outfits are their only path out of ‘shit holes’.
      Yet one more ‘benefit’ of M/W laws…

      1. That’s one thing that really frosts my ass — society is damned good at sorting itself out, when left alone to sort itself out. “Paris feeds itself” and all that. Used to be plenty of crap jobs at low pay where kids could work for somebody else, following rules, gaining experience, learning about work politics, dealing with customers and bureaucrats and suppliers and all sorts of people they’d never meet in 4 years of gender fluid studies. Then the statists had to destroy society in order to pretend that every job has to provide a living wage and has no other utility whatsoever.

        I try to make it a rule to never destroy something I cannot repair or rebuild. If I come across a procedure which is annoying as hell, figure out what it does and why before I “improve” it. If I find weird wiring in my house, why is it like that? The fucking statists just assume that nothing matters, because passing a law, just writing down the words, somehow solves every problem addressed. Fucking morons.

        1. Well, epistemological arrogance is sort of the central conceit of Progressivism going back to the 20’s. It has as its core tenet the belief that society can be better ordered by technocratic busybodies than by its own natural workings. Anyone who looks at something and thinks “that’s dumb, I wonder why it was made that way” instead of “that’s dumb, and I can obviously improve it without any specialized knowledge of the situation” isn’t really in the progressive camp to begin with.

  5. What the hell would Warren know about the working class? She despises working class people and sure as fuck would never talk to one (she might talk at one).

    1. The alternative is Trump, who made himself from the dirt mines of the plains… no, strike that, he inherited and squandered millions in possibly history’s most failed attempt at being a businessman. Retained his unearned elitism. In fact, his entire brand is elite.

      1. Tony
        October.4.2019 at 4:10 pm
        “The alternative is Trump, who made himself from the dirt mines of the plains… no, strike that, he inherited and squandered millions in possibly history’s most failed attempt at being a businessman.”

        Shitbag here has no idea about the subjects of his posts, so, as a fucking lefty ignoramus, he just pulls stuff out of his ass.

      2. Hi esmeralda

      3. Ha ha. The somewhat leftie Burns Documentary “New York” promotes and celebrates a middle aged Donald Trump who was one of the only Developers to complete projects under budget and early, or on time in that union cesspool. I’m sure they’ve edited the streaming service; however, I have the DVD copy!

      4. Tony, as you’ve been a Marxist parasite your own life, you have no real knowledge or understanding of entrepreneurship or entrepreneurs. Including Trump.

        Best you just go drink your Drano and let nature take its course.

  6. So Warren wants to “return power to the working people”. Presumably she means some kind of democracy/voting thing.

    How about then reducing the power and voting of the non-working people? And social activism does not count as working.

    1. Returning things to the working people is a common cry of communists. It never returns anything to the working people.

  7. “Terrible for workers”? I disagree.

    In fact, Elizabeth Warren would reverse Drumpf’s most disastrous anti-worker policy — locking up highly skilled doctors and engineers in concentration camps, instead of welcoming them into our country where they can contribute to our economy.


    1. Your posts have been lackluster lately, but I give this one an 8/10

  8. “Increasing Worker Choice and Control”

    Well the choice would be yes, or no; and the control will definitely be there in the hands of the feds.

  9. Here’s a handy headline template:

    Elizabeth Warren _______ plan would be bad for (insert any group except government)

  10. “Lyft might hire 300,000 fewer workers in California alone”

    That’s a lot of people. How many will they still hire? How many cab drivers in all its forms are there in CA? Seriously, is every 10th person really driving their car looking for extra coin?

    1. It’s a pretty high number, actually. There’s loads of people driving for a couple of hours a week for a little extra cash. Particularly in a place as heavily taxed and regulated as CA, since there’s fewer competing options.

  11. I fail to understand why these drivers are bitching. Is someone holding a gun to their head, in full employment, to perform a “gig” job. Refugees and illegals with five to seven children per woman.. now the far lefts comrades. Reason should be celebrating sanctuary. Why the marxist shaming on the inevitable?

    1. Its not the drivers that are bitching

  12. Warren’s communism would be bad for workers.

    1. If you think it’s going to be bad for workers, just wait until you see what she has planned for the modern day kulaks who have more than one car.

  13. Of course. Elizabeth is what we call in the business ‘crazy’.

  14. When they hire less, she extends unemployment benes. The wealth tax lowers to anything over 50k.

  15. If this is the best the Dems have to offer, I look forward to voting for Trump when he runs for a 3rd term.

  16. “the entire ridesharing business model could collapse.”

    The business model was never great shakes to begin with. Uber has burned through billions and has yet to turn a profit.

    1. Amazon took years to turn a profit, because it was focused on using all available revenues to scale up (and later outwards, into other businesses). From the statements I’ve seen made by Uber to its shareholders, it seems like they’re pursuing a similar strategy. I’m agnostic to the question of whether it’ll ultimately pay off, but I think they should at least be free to try.

  17. For me, the main thing Elizabeth Warren has going for her is that she isn’t Joe Biden, the worst thing that could happen to America.

    1. “the main thing Elizabeth Warren has going for her is that she isn’t Joe Biden”

      Maybe she is Joe Biden. If she can convince the Harvard faculty she’s an indian, I wouldn’t put it past her.

    2. At least Biden, with all his gaffes and the doll hair-style plugs, would provide plenty of material for comedy.

      No one would be allowed to joke about Dim Lizzy, both because she’s a woman and (supposedly but not really) Native American.

      Everything would be deadly serious even while she would be running things into the ground and micromanaging everyone.

  18. No offence, but she’s a retard.

    Wasn’t she some kind of professor? I sure hope she wasn’t teaching economics. Sheesh

    1. Law.

  19. “since many people want an Uber gig for the flexibility it provides”

    Why is everyone so picky? Uber doesn’t pay you enough? Become a nurse. Get a job at a place like Trader Joe’s. They pay a lot for that kind of work. You can’t do that because you have kids and can only work when someone is there to watch them? You fucked up.
    You’re sitting around with nothing to do and want to make some money instead of playing with yourself? Uber is for you.

    1. “Uber is for you.”

      If you have enough money to buy a car. Otherwise, why not drive a taxi?

      1. Most places, you’re actually renting the taxi. As in, there’s an up front fee for the seat/shift each week, and then you owe an extortionate percentage of your earnings on fares as well, which is the sort of business model that only exists when people are not legally allowed to compete with you.

  20. If anyone ever offers to “empower” you, RUN!

  21. Under either these provisions or California’s, would there be some way for Uber drivers to reorganize so as to qualify as independent contractors yet still benefit from the coordination the app and network provide? Could they, for instance, pay a subscription fee for a service like Uber and bill their fares directly with no skim? If they formed a co-op, would they come under some exemption in the legislation?

    1. That’s more or less the model that was recommended by somebody’s lawyers to their drivers – Lyft, I think? – but there’s some question as to whether or not such an association runs afoul of CA labor laws (because everything that isn’t mandatory is forbidden, tovarisch).

  22. Elizabeth Warren: America’s Mother-In-Law

  23. We cannot have a truly democratic society

    We do not have a democratic society and I, for one, do not want one.

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