National App-Based Work Alliance Will Advocate for Solutions That Preserve Worker Independence and Access to Benefits
By: Felix S.
It goes without saying that a little extra income goes a long way, and recently I experienced firsthand how life changing it can be to earn a little more. I have a full-time job that I love working as an HVAC installer, but I’m still early in my career and I don’t make enough to live as comfortably as I would prefer. A few months back, I needed to buy a new car, but the money from my full-time job wasn’t enough to cover a new car payment on top of my other bills. I started driving with Uber part-time to help cover the costs, and the extra income I earn on the side has made a massive difference in my life.
As an Uber driver, I can work as much as I want in order to maximize my supplemental income without the pressure of having schedules, reporting to a boss, or having to fulfill certain hours. I normally work on the weekends or try to squeeze in a few hours during the week when I’m not at my other job, and with app-based work I can set whatever hours I like with no questions asked.
The experience of driving, for me, is incredibly relaxing – almost like meditation. I can enjoy some time to think, talk to interesting people, and explore my area. Truly, working part time with Uber has been a blessing, and I love it every time I sign on.
However, the more I hear about PRO Act, the more worried I become that I may lose my supplemental income from Uber. The PRO Act would impose strict rules determining which workers are independent contractors and which are employees. Under these rules, independent workers like me could lose our flexible work schedule and find ourselves having to work set hours and rigid schedules. That just wouldn’t work for me.
In my full-time job, I already have set hours that I have to follow. What makes app-based work so perfect is that I can schedule my supplemental job around that schedule. However, if I had to fulfill certain hours or schedules with Uber as well as my other job, there’s no way I could juggle both. It would make it very difficult to pay my bills.
Florida’s U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott have signaled they won’t support this bill, and that’s an encouraging sign. I hope they’ll work with their colleagues and help convince them to reject this bill as well. There are millions of people out there who rely on the flexibility of independent work to supplement their income and support themselves – we need to know our lawmakers have our backs.
Working part-time with Uber has helped me get where I needed to be in life. I’m happier, more financially secure, and I feel like I’m better equipped for success in the future. I hope Congress doesn’t take that away.
Felix S. is an Uber driver from Florida