Business groups fight Colorado bill to increase pay transparency for rideshare and delivery drivers

The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to debate a bill on Tuesday.

Business groups fight Colorado bill to increase pay transparency for rideshare and delivery drivers

Colorado business groups are asking legislators to reject a bill that requires technology companies such as Uber and DoorDash to reveal the amount of money they earn per ride.

Senate Bill 23-098 - Gig Work Transparency - mandates that rideshare and delivery companies in Colorado provide detailed information to drivers and app users before each transaction. This includes the amount a consumer pays, the amount a company takes and the amount a driving will receive.

Sen. Robert Rodriguez, of Denver, introduced the legislation in Feburary. He argued that lack of transparency leads to confusion and frustration among drivers and limits their capacity to make informed choices.

Rodriguez stated during an February hearing by the Senate Committee on Business, Labor and Technology that "we all know, the gig-economy has grown significantly over the past few years, and more and more people are turning to independent contracting work to earn a living." There is growing concern from gig workers regarding transparency of their pay and working conditions. The lack of consistent and clear communication by companies is one of the most pressing issues for gig workers.

Nineteen individuals, unions, and advocacy groups spoke during the hearing in support of the bill. Six tech companies, and their representatives, asked legislators to amend it or oppose. Ruthie Barko, with TechNet, an advocacy and lobbying organization for the tech industry, stated that the bill would be overly burdensome for ride-sharing and delivery companies and result in "tremendous" costs.

Barko stated, "We understand that this may appear to be a simple proposal requiring disclosures from companies in order to promote transparency." "But we have to emphasize that this bill is indeed burdensome."

The bill was approved by the committee with a vote of 5-3. The Senate Finance Committee will hold a second hearing on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the bill.

DoorDash has launched a statewide advertising campaign against the bill since the hearing in February. A consortium of Colorado business groups sent a letter asking legislators to vote against the bill. They called it "bad for workers and businesses."

The letter states that "the unprecedented level of regulation of such platforms is unnecessary and would unintendedly harm drivers, restaurants and local businesses."

The Colorado State Chamber was joined by Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce and Aurora Chamber of Commerce. Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and Hispanic Restaurant Association were also present.

In February, representatives of DoorDash and Instacart as well as HopSkipDrive, Lyft and HopSkipDrive spoke against the bill. Harry Hartfield was the only witness who testified against the bill. He is a senior manager for Uber's public affairs.

Hartfield stated that while he supports the goal of greater transparency, he is concerned about the requirements, as they are currently written, which will make it more difficult for employees whose accounts have been deactivated to gain access to the platform. This could lead to an increase in distracted driving and discrimination based on destination, as well as safety concerns for customers.

The Senate Bill 23-098, which requires pay transparency, would also require that drivers receive more information before accepting rides or deliveries, and would prohibit companies from penalizing drivers who decline jobs. The drivers would know the exact pick-up/drop-off location, the estimated total fare that the consumer will be charged, the amount they would receive, and if any other drivers have already declined the ride or the delivery.

Hartfield said that drivers could refuse trips to rural or low-income communities if they had access to location information, and there were no penalties for refusing rides. He said that drivers would become distracted if they received all the information when driving.

Laura Curtis argued in her letter to legislators that the bill would stop the food delivery platform DoorDash from rewarding workers. DoorDash drivers are rewarded if they have high acceptance rates.

Curtis stated, "This is bad news for workers." "Under these requirements, we can't treat a dasher who made their 100th delivery in this year differently than a dasher who never accepted any work through the platform. We are unable to reward or recognize those Dashers that work the most.

A way is also provided for drivers who have been deactivated to appeal against their termination. The drivers in these cases would have the right to request an administrative law judge hearing. The company would have to prove the reasons for the termination at the hearing.

Tech companies and business groups that opposed the bill argued the measure would limit companies' ability remove drivers who present safety risks. The tech companies and business organizations that opposed the bill said the measure would restrict the ability of companies to remove drivers who pose safety risks.

Sandra Parker-Murray is a member and delivery driver union Colorado Independent Drivers United. She said that a new appeals procedure would "give drivers relief" in knowing they have a way to challenge their terminations. Parker-Murray says she has heard from many drivers who have been terminated without cause.

The Colorado Fiscal Institute, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLORA), Colorado Jobs with Justice (COJJ), the Bell Policy Center, and the Action Center on Race & the Economy are among the other organizations that have pushed for the bill.