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MORNING MESSAGE

Lenny Sanchez

Why I’m Striking Against Uber

Today, I’m doing what Uber drivers all around the world are doing: I’m going on strike. What started on a Chicago streetcorner has blossomed into an international movement: we’re now joined by thousands of rideshare drivers – in New York, Atlanta and L.A., Scotland, South America and Africa, as we turn off our apps and refuse rides. Why are we striking? Because Uber pays drivers a pittance – pennies per ride – while its executives become multimillionaires in the company’s initial public stock offering, which is expected to raise $90 billion. For drivers, Uber has become little more than a payday loan on wheels. That’s why last September, a handful of us gathered on the Chicago streetcorner of LaSalle and Jackson to say we’d had enough. A couple of hours later, we had 75 drivers. Now we have the whole world with us. Knowing we’re no longer alone fills my heart with hope. But the road ahead looks rough, and not only for drivers: because if Uber is richly rewarded by investors for taking advantage of its workers, other industries will follow. We’ll all become independent contractors, whether we like it or not. That’s why we’re standing together against Uber. In Chicago, we’re gathering at City Hall today at 3 p.m. Will you join us?

Uber Drivers Strike Across Globe

Protesting ‘Poverty Wages’ and Exploitation, Uber and Lyft Drivers Go on Strike Across the Globe. Common Dreams: “Just days before Uber is set to make its ‘blockbuster’ debut on the public market, ride-hailing drivers with both Uber and Lyft are going on strike across the globe on Wednesday to protest “poverty wages” and virtually non-existent worker protections. ‘We don’t want our wages to stay just minimum. We want Uber to answer to us, not to investors,’ Sonam Lama, an Uber driver and member of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA), said in a statement ahead of Wednesday’s strike. ‘The gig economy is all about exploiting workers by taking away our rights. It has to stop. Uber is the worst actor in the gig economy.’ According to the NYTWA, drivers plan to strike in major cities across the United States as well as in Brazil, Australia, Chile, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Nairobi, and other nations. Todd Wolfson, a Rutgers University professor who studies the gig economy, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that Wednesday’s action is the largest-ever global work stoppage by ride-hailing drivers.”

Trump Businesses Lost $1.7b In A Decade

Trump tax figures show over $1 billion in business losses. NYT: “By the time his master-of-the-universe memoir “Trump: The Art of the Deal” hit bookstores in 1987, Donald J. Trump was already in deep financial distress, losing tens of millions of dollars on troubled business deals, according to previously unrevealed figures from his federal income tax returns. Mr. Trump was propelled to the presidency, in part, by a self-spun narrative of business success and of setbacks triumphantly overcome. He has attributed his first run of reversals and bankruptcies to the recession that took hold in 1990. But 10 years of tax information obtained by The New York Times paints a different, and far bleaker, picture of his deal-making abilities and financial condition. The numbers show that in 1985, Mr. Trump reported losses of $46.1 million from his core businesses — largely casinos, hotels and retail space in apartment buildings. They continued to lose money every year, totaling $1.17 billion in losses for the decade. In fact, year after year, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer.”

Trump’s Tariffs Cost Taxpayers $900,000 For Every Job Created

Trump’s steel tariffs cost U.S. consumers $900,000 for every job created, experts say. WaPo: “President Trump has shown little interest in removing the steel and aluminum tariffs he imposed more than a year ago despite growing evidence Americans are paying a hefty price for these tariffs and increasing pressure from Republicans in Congress to remove them. U.S. consumers and businesses are paying more than $900,000 a year for every job saved or created by Trump steel tariffs, according to calculations by experts at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. The cost is more than 13 times the typical salary of a steelworker, according to Labor Department data, and it is similar to other economists’ estimates that Trump’s tariffs on washing machines are costing consumers $815,000 per job created. It’s very high. It’s arresting,’ said Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute who did the steel tariff cost calculation. ‘The reason it’s so high is that steel is a very capital-intensive industry. There are not many workers.'”

U.S. Asylum Screeners Take Confrontational Approach

U.S. asylum screeners to take more confrontational approach as Trump aims to turn more migrants away at the border, WaPo: “The Trump administration has sent new guidelines to asylum officers, directing them to take a more skeptical and confrontational approach during interviews with migrants seeking refuge in the United States. It is the latest measure aimed at tightening the nation’s legal ‘loopholes’ that Homeland Security officials blame for a spike in border crossings. According to internal documents and staff emails obtained Tuesday by The Washington Post, the asylum officers will more aggressively challenge applicants whose claims of persecution contain discrepancies, and they will need to provide detailed justifications before concluding that an applicant has a well-founded fear of harm if deported to their home country.

Congress Moves Forward With Contempt Vote

Dems moving forward with Barr contempt vote after DOJ talks break down. Politico: “The Justice Department is preparing to ask the White House to invoke executive privilege over special counsel Robert Mueller’s entire report and underlying evidence, a defensive move the night before Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are set to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt for refusing to make the report’s full contents available to Congress. ‘In the face of the committee’s threatened contempt vote, the attorney general will be compelled to request that the president invoke executive privilege with respect to the materials subject to the subpoena,’ Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote in a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, asking the committee to hold off on its contempt proceedings.
The Justice Department’s latest move comes despite the fact that at least two lawmakers — Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — have already viewed a less-redacted version of Mueller’s report than the one Barr made public last month.”

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