Uber's logo is pictured at its office in Tokyo, Japan, November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo
4 March 2018: A Massachusetts Institute of Technology research group that this week reported nearly three-quarters of Uber Technologies [UBER.UL] and Lyft Inc drivers earned below minimum wage is revisiting its study after a tweeted challenge by Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi.
The study, by the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, found that drivers’ median pretax profit was $3.37 per hour, using results from a survey of more than 1,100 workers of the ride hailing companies.
Uber and Lyft have been battling complaints that they underpay their drivers. Uber and other companies have defended their business models saying their drivers enjoy the flexibility of their work and on average earn more than the minimum wage, but have lost a series of court cases on the issue.
Khosrowshahi criticized the MIT study in a tweet on Friday as“Mathematically Incompetent Theories (at least as it pertains to ride-sharing),” and linked to a response by Uber chief economist Jonathan Hall that challenged the study’s methodology.
Technical discussions on auto content at the latest round of talks to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement were disrupted this week by the sudden departure of the head of the U.S. team for that issue, Jason Bernstein.
The three sides aimed to hold talks as soon as possible to continue addressing a U.S. proposal to raise the amount of North American content used under NAFTA, Smith said. The U.S. demand has been a major sticking point at the talks.
“It’s going to restart soon, not in this round, but we hope that there is a meeting at technical level next week to continue the talks,” Smith told reporters.
Officials said Bernstein returned to the United States for technical consultations with the auto industry, and Smith told reporters he had not returned to the talks in Mexico City.