A tech wave has been overwhelming the Bay Area, making housing prices unaffordable for families and commercial rents unaffordable for community groups and arts organizations. Now Uber is coming to Oakland, and could cause great harm to our city. While Uber now says it plans to start small, it could eventually bring 2,000 or more highly paid workers into Oakland. If Uber arrives and does nothing to address our city’s affordability crisis, it will set a dangerous pattern for other big tech firms coming into our city and cause displacement and gentrification to get massively worse.
Uber’s business model has been based on ignoring laws and rules while relying on contract workers with none of the rights and benefits of employees. It has undermined established transit networks, including taxis and the public transit systems on which Oaklanders rely. Recent news reports suggest Uber’s platform has facilitated discrimination against communities of color, while a former female employee has described disturbing levels of sexual harassment that management failed to address until it became a public scandal. Uber consistently refused to release its workforce diversity data until the sexual harassment scandal forced it to promise to eventually do so. Frankly, we’ve seen no sign that Uber understands or cares about Oakland and its values.
At this point, we believe Oakland is better off without Uber. To be welcome in Oakland, Uber must change. We demand that Uber work with the community to hammer out a constructive agenda that will protect our city’s residents, neighbors, community groups and artists while providing dignity and respect to Uber’s workers and drivers – setting a positive example for other tech firms and large corporations to follow.