Uber whistleblower calls on lawmakers to defend the rights of platform workers

Former Uber senior executive Mark MacGann endorses directive to increase protections for platform workers

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – 25 October 2022 – Mark MacGann, former head of public policy at Uber, testified to the European Parliament today about expanding rights and protections for gig workers in Europe. During his opening statement and during questioning, he laid out the case for legislation that will level the playing field between tech companies and platform workers. His full statement can be read here.

European legislators are considering policies that would re-define the relationship between tech companies and platform workers in Europe. Supporters of regulation suggest it will support workers by reducing the erosion of earnings of the workers on whom these platforms depend.

Evidence supports that claim. MacGann, part of Uber’s senior management team during its years of explosive expansion, provided more than 100,000 documents to journalists this summer that exposed the company’s failed promises to drivers and its extensive lobbying efforts with governments. Those documents, known as the Uber Files, are instructive for lawmakers looking to protect workers’ rights.

“Platforms cannot set prices for workers, monitor their communications, and suspend drivers for declining trips only to turn around and claim these drivers are totally independent workers,” said MacGann. “The algorithms that control these people’s incomes and working parameters are ultimately programmed by human beings. When human beings control the work of drivers or other platform workers – even if under the guise of a ‘tech platform’ or algorithm – they are effectively acting as managers or employers. As such, drivers deserve some of the benefits that are connected to traditional employment, including time off for sick days, health insurance, and a living wage that allows for upward mobility and stable earnings.”

A recording of the hearing will be available through the European Parliament.

The Signals Network is providing legal and advocacy support for Mark MacGann.

About The Signals Network
The Signals Network (TSN) is a US-based non-profit organization with international operations. Its aim is to advance the public’s interest by encouraging transparency, accountability, reporting and whistleblowing.

To support whistleblowers and hold power to account, The Signals Network employs an end-to-end approach that includes: empowering workers to stand up to power and speak out about wrongdoing; protecting whistleblowers who contribute to published reports of wrongdoing; supporting collaborative investigative reporting on wrongdoing; and, advocating for lasting change as a result of whistleblower revelations.

You may access the official news release here


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