Uber’s sensitivity to regulation, as it prepares to go public later this year, highlights the tension between mobility companies that rely on big cities to power their businesses and elected officials in progressive meccas seeking to maintain more control over the rapidly changing transportation landscape.
Uber called out cities including Seattle, San Francisco, and New York where officials have passed laws to expand labor benefits to drivers and rein in ride-sharing companies.
“If our operations in large metropolitan areas or ability to provide trips to and from airports are negatively affected, our financial results and future prospects would be adversely impacted,” Uber cautioned.
Uber highlighted Seattle’s landmark law that allows drivers to unionize as an example of legislation that could force the company to “modify our business model in those jurisdictions as a result.”
“Other jurisdictions such as Seattle have in the past considered or may consider regulations that would implement minimum wage requirements or permit drivers to negotiate for minimum wages while providing services on our platform,” the documents say. The provision was first spotted by Seattle Times reporter Heidi Groover.
Uber lists Seattle’s law, as well as New York’s one-year freeze on new Uber drivers and San Francisco’s proposed surcharge on ride-sharing as “Regulatory Risks Related to Our Business.”
Seattle’s unionization law passed in 2015 but it has been jammed up in lawsuits since.