Pete Buttigieg joined a demonstration with Uber and Lyft drivers fighting for a minimum wage while his campaign spends heavily on the ride-hailing apps (UBER, LYFT)


pete buttigieg

  • Pete Buttigieg joined Uber and Lyft drivers as they rallied in support of a controversial California bill on Tuesday. 
  • The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate voiced support for things like collective bargaining rights, a minimum wage, and overtime protection for drivers. 
  • Meanwhile, Buttigieg’s campaign spent nearly $10,000 on Uber and Lyft rides in the first half of 2019, a total that may have increased since the most recent disclosure deadline. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg didn’t mince words when speaking at a rally of Uber and Lyft drivers in San Francisco on Thursday.

“I’m here because where I come from, gig is another word for job, which means if you are working a gig you are a worker and you oughta be protected as a worker,” he told drivers demonstrating near the company’s headquarters at an event organized by the group Gig Workers Rising.

“That means you deserve a minimum wage. That means you deserve protections from workplace and sexual harassment. That means you deserve overtime protections. And yes, that means you deserve a union.”

But the fifth-place candidate’s campaign spending tells a different tale.

Pete for America staffers racked up $9,152 worth of Uber and Lyft fares in the first six months of 2019, according to Federal Election Commission Data analyzed by Business Insider. Some 88% of that money went to Uber rides, filings show.

That spending puts Buttigieg in fourth-place in terms of overall spending on the apps; totals have likely increased since the June 31 report as the campaign season continues to heat up. He trails Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Yang, and Kamala Harris in ride-hailing expenditures.

Read more: Presidential candidates vastly prefer Uber over Lyft. Here’s how much the 2020 Democratic hopefuls are spending on each of the ride-hailing services.

A spokesperson for the Buttigieg campaign declined to answer questions about staffers’ use of Uber and Lyft.

In his remarks, Buttigieg did not mention California’s Assembly Bill 5, one of the group’s main clarion calls and the impetus for Tuesday’s rally. The proposed law, which both Uber and Lyft say could effectively ruin their businesses, would classify many drivers in the state as full-fledged employees, entitling them to things like overtime protections, collective bargaining rights, and a minimum wage — things they miss out on as independent contractors.

Read more: Uber and Lyft are fighting tooth and nail against a California bill that could make some drivers employees and bankrupt both companies

Kamala Harris, whose brother-in-law serves as Uber’s chief counsel, supports AB5, a campaign spokesperson told Vice News on Tuesday. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has also said she supports the proposed law, calling Uber and Lyft’s labor practices “shameful,” in a Sacramento Bee op-ed.

“They say that these technology companies are the future of the American workforce — I think that might be right,’ Buttigieg concluded at the rally.

“So, do we want a future where there are no protections, no unions, and workers are not treated as workers? Or do we want a future with justice? Do we want a future where you have the rights afforded to you by that representation? Do we want a better future for everybody working, whether it is full time in a traditional company or not? Will we stand up for that? I think the answer is yes.”

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