Uber, Lyft find potential ally in Trump transportation secretary pick
- Uber and Lyft, corporate drivers of the “sharing economy,” may have found a friend in president-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for transportation secretary, says Fortune. Elaine Chao, former labor secretary under President George W. Bush, appears to support the “shared economy.” She also served as Deputy Secretary of Transportation under President George H. W. Bush. Fortune says Uber and Lyft expressed support for Chao’s nomination.
- The companies might have been encouraged by a speech Chao gave to the American Action Forum last year, in which she characterized Uber drivers as independent workers who like the flexibility the job offers. Since that speech, Uber drivers have sued the company to protect their wages and to be treated as employees as opposed to independent contractors.
- While Chao seems to support the “gig” economy, less is known about her views on self-driving vehicles. Lyft president and co-founder, John Zimmer, predicted that all the company’s vehicles will be self-driven by 2025, reports Fortune.
Uber and Lyft said they looked forward to working with Chao if her nomination is confirmed, according to Fortune. Chao takes the Republican Party’s stance on opposing what it describes as the over-regulation of businesses. This should be favorable for both companies, especially as Uber awaits the outcomes of the lawsuits its drivers filed against it.
As with all Trump’s nominees, businesses must take a wait-and-see attitude about Chao. Trump and the GOP are pro-business advocates who will likely roll back Pres. Barack Obama’s pro-labor measures, such as the overtime rule. A federal judge in Texas already placed an injunction on this key piece of legislation, which was supposed to be a major win for the Obama administration.