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Uber is spamming users with political push notifications ahead of a key gig worker vote

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Unwanted smartphone notifications are always a pain in the app, but not often are these messages so nakedly political as the latest batch sent out by Uber in California.

Uber is one of a number of gig economy firms currently waging a $186 million campaign against a Californian state law that requires them to classify their workers as employees (with all the attendant benefits and rights). To try and avoid this, Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and others have pushed a ballot known as Proposition 22 or Prop 22 that would exempt them from the law, and are in turn pushing their users to vote in their favor.

True to its reputation, Uber seems to be taking a particularly aggressive stance. Earlier this month, users in California had to “confirm” they’d seen a message before calling a ride telling them wait times and prices would rise if Prop 22 wasn’t passed. Now, Uber’s app is sending users in California push notifications with the message that “Prop 22 will save lives.”

On social media, many Uber users complained about the notifications, pointing out that they seem to be breaking Apple’s App Store rules. The iPhone maker’s app developer agreement (section 4.5.3) forbids sending “unsolicited message to customers, including […] Push Notifications” (though Apple itself seems to break this rule as and when it pleases). We’ve reached out to the iPhone maker to see if Uber’s notifications are kosher under App Store guidelines, and will update this story if we hear more.

The vote on Prop 22 will appear on the general election ballot on November 3rd, and will likely have a huge effect on the future of gig economy work in the US.

Since their inception, companies like Uber have argued that workers benefit from a status as freelance contractors, which gives them the opportunity to work flexible hours. Undeniably, though, this also benefits the companies hugely, allowing them to cut costs at what are often loss-making businesses. They get a ready supply of labor, but don’t have to shell out for things like medical insurance and paid time off that many full-time employees are entitled to. Research has shown, though, that most gig economy workers are effectively full-time employees already, with nearly three quarters working more than 30 hours a week, according to one study.

Prop 22 doesn’t outright reject the need for these workers to have access to greater benefits. Indeed, as reported by The New York Times, the ballot would offer “some wage guarantees and a pool of money that certain workers could use for health care costs and sick days.” But many think these guarantees are not enough. One study, which Uber and Lyft have disputed, calculated that Prop 22 only guarantees workers $5.64 an hour after expenses and down time are accounted for.

Uber and other gig companies are framing the new law as something of an existential threat to their businesses. From that point of view, a push notification — no matter how annoying — is worth sending out if it persuades even a few voters. We’ve reached out to Uber for comment on this story and will update it if we hear back.

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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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