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Uber and Lyft: Okay But What If Franchises, Though?

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California’s rideshare behemoths Uber and Lyft are still grasping for ways to get around the state’s attempts to classify their drivers as full-time employees, and the long-play at this point very much appears to be a November ballot measure. But the two companies have reportedly explored alternative workarounds as well, including the extreme measure of licensing their brands to fleet operators. You know, like a taxi service—the supposedly moribund industry these companies were supposed to supplant.

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Citing sources familiar with the matter, the New York Times reported Tuesday that both companies have looked into operating more like a black car service in California, presumably to avoid paying their drivers benefits. According to the paper, the plan would see Uber and Lyft as platforms for other businesses to create their own ride-sharing fleets, a clever trick that would allow Uber and Lyft to distance themselves from the labor side of their businesses and instead operate more as a mere dispatch service.

The specifics of how such a model would work are not clear. In theory, operating this way may allow Uber or Lyft to argue that they’re software platforms whose transportation services aren’t necessarily core to their businesses (as they’ve been doing, with limited success.) That argument’s viability would obviously hinge entirely on those unknowns, mainly what level of control over drivers Uber would be willing to cede under such a model. An Uber spokesperson told Gizmodo in a statement by email that the company is “not sure whether a fleet model would ultimately be viable in California.”

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“This is similar to how Uber Black operated a decade ago, with higher prices and less reliability,” the spokesperson said. “In some models, drivers bring their own cars; in others, the cars are owned by the fleet. In either case, drivers would likely earn a predetermined hourly wage for their time on-app—but, in exchange, fleets would need to monitor and enforce drivers’ activity and efficiency, for instance by putting drivers into shifts, dictating where and when they must drive, and enforcing trip acceptance criteria.”

Many Uber cars are already parts of fleets, especially in New York City, mainly due to the difficulty in obtaining operating licenses.

Both companies have threatened to temporarily shut down in the state if they’re forced to comply with AB5, though both are also banking on the success of a ballot measure, Proposition 22, that goes to vote in November. That initiative would allow app-based gig employers to skirt some of the benefits afforded to drivers with full-time employee classification.

When reached for comment by Gizmodo about the reported licensing plans, a Lyft spokesperson said only that “alternative models” have been explored and reaffirmed the company’s position on Proposition 22.

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“We’ve looked at alternative models, and the one that would work best for drivers is what we’re supporting in the ballot measure—they remain independent and can work whenever they want while also receiving additional health care benefits and an earnings guarantee,” Julie Wood, a Lyft spokesperson, said in a statement.

Lyft and Uber could shut down as soon as this week if they’re forced with an order to comply with AB5, though it does not appear that it’s in Uber or Lyft’s best interest to cease operations. Such a move would also disproportionately punish drivers who rely on these companies for income at a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty—though given the overall indifference gig employers have demonstrated toward the well-being of their human workers, would that really come as any surprise?

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

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Other functions include multiple lighting modes as well as a sleep timer option for auto shut-off of the light after 30 or 60 minutes.

This lamp can be yours in white for $18 if you clip the coupon on Amazon (it’s below the original $40 price) and add promo code ABC88699 at checkout.

You can snag the black version for $20 using the same code—no coupon though, sorry.

Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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