New Jersey’s state’s labor department has slapped Uber with a $650 million fine for misclassifying its drivers as independent contractors, according to media reports. The ride-hailing company owes the state for back unemployment taxes and disability insurance.
The fine comes as the New Jersey state Senate is taking up a new bill aimed at limiting what workers can be considered independent contractors. That bill is one of several new and proposed policies aimed at limiting the use of independent contractors nationwide.
Leading the charge is California’s AB5, which will require Uber and other on-demand companies to reclassify their drivers as employees starting Jan. 1, 2020. The sweeping labor law will also reshape the owner-operator model in the trucking sector. New York, Oregon and Washington state are also considering restrictions on the use of independent contractors.
Uber is challenging the New Jersey penalty and says “drivers are independent contractors in New Jersey and elsewhere.”
Did you know?
The U.S. operations of the Class I railroads have originated 23.3 million carloads and intermodal units since the start of the year, a 4.4% drop when compared to the same period in 2018. Of that, U.S. carloads fell 4.3% to 11.3 carloads, while U.S. intermodal units slipped 4.6% to nearly 12 million intermodal containers and trailers.
“The shares of [environmental, social governance] ESG companies are all going through the roof, and shares of oil companies are down – and we could be in just the early stages of this trend.”
– Peter Hermanrud, chief strategist at SpareBank 1 Markets, on the trend away from fossil-fuel investments and toward environmental, social, governance (ESG) investing
In other news
Helping delivery robots find your front door
With a new navigation system from MIT, robots can decipher common landscape features, even in an unfamiliar environment. (Smithsonian)
Amazon delivers a Pentagon City transportation conundrum
A year after the tech giant announced it would move into Arlington, county planners are gearing up to launch a new study of the neighborhood’s transportation options amid an influx of new Amazon employees. (WashingtonBizjournals)
DroneDeploy Inc raises $35 million
The company intends to use the funds to expand internationally, move into new industries, and further build out its suite of offerings for customers. (Finsmes)
Kroger unveils additional site for high-tech supply chain hub
The supermarket giant is partnering with Ocado, one of the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailers, to build a CFC in Pleasant Prairie, Wisc. (Chainstoreage)
Two big money plays went down in Seattle this week, both involving high- profile logistics companies. On Nov. 13, digital freight company Convoy announced a $400M Series D round. The latest raise values Convoy at $2.75 billion. In four total rounds of funding, Convoy has raised $668 million.
Also this week in Seattle: Amazon lost big when the city council candidate it backed, Egan Orion, finally conceded to incumbent and avowed “socialist” Kshama Sawant. Amazon spent more than $443,000 to replace Sawant with Orion, part of a larger $1.45 million donation the e-giant contributed through a political action committee.
It was a spectacular backfire. In a YouTube video, a bitter Orion blamed Amazon for his loss, saying the “massive” corporate donations were out of touch in today’s political environment.
Hammer down, everyone!