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SuperShuttle: Is it a work or a company?
However, as a SuperShuttle airport van chauffeur, he has to give the business up to $900 a dollar a week before taking home his own cash. "There was too much expense and, quite openly, almost all of our stores lost money," says Thomas LaVoy, SuperShuttle's CFO.
A few riders say that the postponement has given them more agility and the opportunity to set up their own businesses. Enajekpo and several hundred SuperShuttle riders across the nation say that the changes have done more damage than good - and in a number of complaints allege that the firm is not granting them autonomy and is betraying its riders for the salaries and services they should be eligible for as staff.
Whether good or not, SuperShuttle is not alone with its buisness as such. According to the International Franchise Association, between 2001 and 2005 three and a half fold as many job creation took place as the overall population. The conversion of our staff into Franchise Owners and self-employed entrepreneurs has been going on for years. Then, a firm will classify its staff as contractor or franchisee without giving them the necessary autonomy.
If this happens, the blue-collar worker will lose some health and safety measures, and the business will be exempted from taxes such as joblessness and workers' accident insurance - a fiscal blow to the state and German government's fiscal treasuries. There is no uniform concept of the term staff, which means that different state and state regulatory authorities and even the court may allow different levels of standard for a business.
This is certainly the case with SuperShuttle. The NLRB Denver branch in 2010 found that SuperShuttle operators are people. As a result, the riders were able to be unionised and are now in the midst of contractual negotiation. However, two other groups of SuperShuttle riders who tried to organize themselves were refused.
An NLRB officer in a Dallas case found that the riders were self-employed. For Enajekpo in Baltimore, the local branch did not achieve this problem and found that even if the driver was an employee, he had a duty of supervision and therefore could not organise. In Maryland and California, two employment offices found that SuperShuttle riders were salaried workers and therefore entitled to benefits from jobless work.
The SuperShuttle has lodged an appeal against both cases. It is this shortage of measures that prompted the riders to turn to the supreme court, but even there they had little transparency. Although there have been individual collective lawsuits in New York, California, Florida, Arizona, Minnesota and Maryland, most have come to a standstill because of a provision in the franchise that requires riders to settle their cases separately with the business.
In New York, a proposal for a compromise indicates that, while the firm will not acknowledge a mistake, it is prepared to indemnify riders for the amount of their deductible by organising the sale. While SuperShuttle refused to give a statement on the case, strongly denying in the courts that it misclassified the group. Clothed in trousers, a blue coat and a jersey with the SuperShuttle emblem in gold, Enajekpo begins his game.
Already 32 delivery trucks are queuing at the airport awaiting them. He knows it will take a long time, so he is hoping to find a group to drive from his neighbourhood to the airport. However, after taking the position, he finds himself confronted with a minor problem: a traveller had a voucher that reduced Enajekpos Take to $60 because the driver had to respect all corporate rebates.
Every penny will help, especially this weekend, when he already owe SuperShuttle $1,054.36. There is a $197. 59 charge to buy his own carfrice, a $179. 20 charge for his van leasing, $144. 31 charge to insure and a $500 system charge per annum for using SuperShuttle reserves and rig.
It also has $33. 35 in other SuperShuttle dues charged to him or her, SuperShuttle will charge him client rebates or extra reservation costs incurred by the business when travelers enroll through third-party sites such as Expedia. SuperShuttle also owed Enajekpo 79 bucks from last weekend when he didn't earn enough cash to meet his debts. In addition, he will have a few hundred bucks to make the business charge with revenues share fee - 10 per cent of fare for flights to the airport and 27.
5% for travel from the airport that involves an extra charge to the airport. Enajekpo's debts began on the date he enrolled in SuperShuttle in 2004 and purchased a 10-year excess. SuperShuttle's Robertson says a 10-year deductible will cost riders between $15,000 and $40,000 per driver, based on locations. Baltimore-Washington International Airport charges $25,000.
Trouble: Practically no chauffeur has the cash to prepay. Riders then owe a week' worth of debts for the all-encompassing system charge that riders have to foot, whether they work or not. They do not get sickness or holidays, but they can employ an assistant for them.
For Baltimore, this means that 10-year deductible riders must pay the corporation at least $19,500 a year for the system charge alone. Robertson, of SuperShuttle, says that the system charge is important because most airport operators need SuperShuttle to make a minimal cash contribution to the airport regardless of how much the business makes - an amount she says varies from $200,000 at small airport to $1.4 million at Los Angeles International Airport.
SuperShuttle is not a service for the franchisee, but a service for the franchisee. Maryland alone generated about half of the company's 2010 revenues (USD 4.9 million) with franchises. Almost all the remainder came from reserves ($5.2 million), according to deductible disclosures. LaVoy of SuperShuttle says that this has enabled the airline to grow from 20 in 1999 to 33 in 2012.
Says he says franchising has boosted sales, once by 185 per cent of riders and now by about 10 to 15 per cent. Some riders think the layout works well. Pat Alden, 62, resides in Baltimore County, MD, and has been riding a SuperShuttle van since 2004. He began as an assistant for another of the franchisees and soon got her own one.
Only the other weekend could she login to the airport to queue for a gig and still come to the garage to have her son's auto repaired. While she waits in her van near the airport at lunchtime, she goes through the documents for her mother's property.
Started riding a SuperShuttle van eight years ago, but having bought his deductible, he has a full-time chauffeur and rents a Cadillac cab operated by SuperShuttle, which he now rides instead. However, riders like Enajakpo and others who have lodged complaints have argued that the corporation makes it difficult for them to earn enough and be self-sufficient.
Chauffeurs cannot use their van to work for another business. You cannot turn down a position if you have waited at the airport for long periods of time and only get one person. To the things they can't wear: a pullover or hat without the SuperShuttle badge. On 17 September 2009, when former Baltimore pilot Fred Tinsley was quoted for carrying "non-uniform items", among them a "white tieless without ties, outside cock, bay sandals", he was given three workingdays to keep or loose his deductible.
A few riders also say that nowadays it is much more difficult to get enough work. You say this is because SuperShuttle has increased the number of riders, which affects their capacity to make moneys. At the end of 2006, SuperShuttle had 62 riders in Maryland and 84 by 2010. It'?s 8:30 when he drop the two airport riders off his $64 bids.
They log on to the system to register for the next run from the airport. It is the executive who comes by to check the driver cars and uniform, says Enajekpo. In 2010, SuperShuttle received a new agreement with BWI that raised airport charges from 15 to 17. 5% of outgoing tariffs - a distinction that must be compensated for by the driver.
"For many of you, we know this amendment will be more of a monetary burden," the firm said in a note to the riders, saying that it would have to increase payment to get the deal. Although the firm did pay him $75,787. Enajekpo was kept in minus after all his expenditures and the payment of an auxiliary rider in 2009; his tax return for 2009 showed his earnings at -$2,665.
In late 2010, Enajekpo and co-workers brought their case to the NLRB and argued that they were really salaried workers and should be able to organise. Losing out, they turned to the regulators: the Maryland Aviation Administration (which talked to the corporation, but said it wasn't in charge of labour inspection), the Public Utilities Commission (which says it wasn't in charge), the State Department of Labour, Licensing and Regulation (where the right to seek employment stays on appeal) and, of course, the Supreme Courts, where he eventually reached an agreement with the corporation early this year.
A previous release of this tale said that Super Shuttle riders received a paycheck. Indeed, these riders were remunerated for each working day on the basis of an agreed rate of pay per working day and not on the basis of a flat-rate pay irrespective of the workload.