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