- Move over Uber and Lyft. Anew kid on the block plans to not only offer rides to consumers, but apparently will do it using drivers who are employees entitled to benefits, not independent contractors.
- Juno, a well-funded startup based and operating in New York City, is betting that human beings can't be treated as cogs in a machine, and having happy, loyal employees as drivers will put it on a winning path when battling its "gig economy" competitors, according to an article by NPR.
- Juno CEO Talmon Marco told NPR that the company is parking 50% of its stock shares as an incentive for drivers. But more importantly, as Uber seems to be banking on the notion that self-driving cars will eventually replace drivers, Juno's strategy focuses on the human touch and it's impact on both employees and customers.
In a dramatic change from the independent contractor on-demand model (though some employers have moved to the employee-based model), Marco told NPR that the company is poised to offer its 13,000 current drivers full employee status with benefits, paid vacation and sick leave. The only caveat, he said, is they must exclusively work for Juno, a requirement that NPR reports does have some drivers (ones who drive for multiple on-demand companies) balking at switching right now.
There are growing concerns about the impact of the gig economy when it comes to the employee safety net, with some calling for a brand new social contract for this evolving workforce. Should Juno get rolling and eventually succeed, it certainly will be a much more HR-focused company than Uber or Lyft. The next few months will determine whether or not Juno can make a dent in New York City's Uber-Lyft market dominance.