Brad Avakian is wrong on Uber drivers

Sid Leiken_thb

by Sid Leiken

This week, Bureau of Labor and Industries Commissioner Brad Avakian sent out an advisory opinion determining in the eyes of Oregon law that drivers affiliated with Uber, the popular ride-sharing mobile application, were to be considered employees. The letter, in its current iteration has no authority, but has the ability to tilt future legislation that could stifle Uber and other ‘new economy’ services from taking root in Oregon.

This interpretation also gives traditional taxi cab services the upper-hand, by taking away a competitive advantage Uber, and other services such as Lyft currently have. It takes away the ability for Oregonians, especially younger Oregonians who have grown dependent on these services in their current form, to get to their destination easily.

If bulldozing Uber into fitting into the traditional model for taxis is Brad Avakian’s solution to a budding new economy, what can we expect of him as Secretary of State? With this kind of mindset, we could be returning to polling booths in order to vote.

I strongly disagree with the abrasive tactics BOLI is using to squelch innovation, and would not support this type of bullying in the Secretary of State’s office.

Sid Leiken is a Republican candidate for Oregon Secretary of State

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Posted by at 07:51 | Posted in 2016 Election, Oregon Secretary of State, State Labor Commissioner | 20 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Betsy Johnson for SOS

    Brad Avakian’s siren song: “If knew you were coming I’d (half)-baked a cake” – that is, until more monies ‘willingly grace’ his incoming $ecular SLATEstar; all fodder attendant to wit cashiers in his gold havens.
    That matriculated: He’ll then garnish more seashells gullible from michael moore travellers to BUY from the Dem shore, till a spearing point penetrates his Achilles spiel.

    • Betsy Johnson a better cede

      Brad Avakian is another Bill Bradbury sore; along with Kate Brown in Mahonia Hall, what’s to fear butt more DEMographics entourage in store for Oregonians albeit sick and tired of such.

  • Dave Lister

    I have no use for Avakian but he has this one right. My industry, thirty years ago, was full of abuse of subcontractor status so the employers could dodge FICA, Medicare and workers comp.

    If an Uber driver is only driving for Uber and is not paid for driving by any other entity then they are an employee, according to the rules. I suspect many cab drivers operating as subcontractors are in violation of this rule as well.

    Uber drivers match all the other criteria. They provide their own workspace and tools. They set their own hours. But they fail on the third test: They are not paid for driving by more than one entity.
    If an Uber driver also drives for Lyft, they would meet the criteria. But not if they only drive for Uber.

    • Bob Clark

      But Dave, being an employee carries a lot more government regulation than just FICA, Medicare and workers comp. There’s too much interference by government in the employer/employee transaction/relation. People should have the right to work without government interference, in large part; and so, I would rather support this deregulation of commuter services.

      • Dave Lister

        Bob,
        You and I are on the same page philosophically. All I am saying is that Avakian’s interpretation is correct based on the current IRS regulations concerning subcontractor status, not that I necessarily agree with those regulations.

        I am not looking at it from the side of the employee/contractor. I am looking at it from the employer side. In most cases employers use subcontractor definition just to dodge paying the normal withholding taxes. This is also common in political campaigns. Paid staffers are called contractors when they aren’t.

        I actually set up a payroll account for my one paid staffer when I ran with an EIN number and did all the proper paperwork. That was correct, because this person was only providing the service for me, not for others.

    • thevillageidiot

      as a self employed individual I usually work for only one client at a time. I set my own hours and place to work. due to security reasons the client supplies me with a secure computer to be able to interface with their system; the IRS does not have a problem with this. I can have more than one client at a time but and have to be selective in dividing the time for two clients. so you are confused about what constitutes a contractor. and if the drivers wanted to they could probably drive for Lyft as well if it was available.

      • Dave Lister

        If you are billing all your time to one client for an extended period you are an employee. If you have active clients on the books but are between engagements you are probably okay.

  • Dave Lister

    And by the way, Sid, after decades of vote by mail fraud I think most of us would be eager to return to the polling place.

    • CCHSAA member

      Amen! And please, Dave, even if I don’t agree with you once in a while, please consider running for mayor of Portland.
      CHS alumni Sho Dozono and Tom Potter can be bettered by your presents. Thx and don’t overlook the 100th anniversary coming in 2016.

      • Dave Lister

        Thank you for your encouragement. But the fact is I am now residing in Tigard so I am not eligible to run for an office in Portland and I don’t see myself relocating any time soon. If I were voting in the next election I would vote for Wheeler. That will put Novice Novick on the sidelines as new alliances are formed on the council. A guy like me cannot get elected in Portland.

        Hopefully the Cleveland/Commerce alums will plan a great party in 2016 and I will be looking forward to it.

  • DavidAppell

    Sid Leiken: Has Uber made any contributions to your political campaign?

    • Dick Winningstad

      From a liberal whose favorite candidates are bought by unions?

      • DavidAppell

        You (and Leiken) are avoiding the question. I wonder why.

        • Dick Winningstad

          An obtuse response to a perfectly aimed reply. You are concerned about conservative sources of support yet are not concerned about your favorites. Why the double standard?

          • DavidAppell

            You (and Leiken) are STILL ignoring the question. Why is that, Dick?

          • Dick Winningstad

            You are still avoiding the question. Why are you concerned about conservative sources of support but not liberal sources?

          • Alez Treebeck

            Survey says: Appell’s core values comprise half baked rhubarb left wing idolatry, sans Chevy on the levee American gospel with greater scents overall. .

          • The Road Appell Stinx

            To wit WOF constituents concur.

  • Dave Lister

    Having thought about it more, I would like Mr. Leiken to explain exactly what he meant by his returning to the polls comment. Are you a vote by mail advocate, Leiken? Do you think our system is free of fraud? Do you think participation has increased due to vote by mail? And since you brought it up, do you also believe in motor voter?

    I think your opportunity to take a pot shot at Avakian over Uber is not really important. But I, and I hope most conservatives, am VERY concerned over your comments about the polling place. Our side has been working for years to combat vote by mail, but you seem to think it is the way of the future. Do you also advocate on line voting?

    Because the SOS main job is election integrity, I think you have a lot of explaining to do. I look forward to your comments. Will it be that you “misspoke” or will it be some ordinary political doublespeak?

  • Ron Swaren

    How many of these drivers are just working folks earning some extra bread? Let them drive without a lot of red tape. Welcome, Uber, to the Oregon Bureau of A—-es.

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