Uber Technologies Inc. is considering an overhaul of its business in California if voters reject a ballot measure that would prevent the ride-hailing company’s drivers from being classified as employees.
“We are looking at all our options,” Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said, without elaborating, during The Wall Street Journal’s annual Tech Live conference, held remotely on Tuesday. “We will do our best to operate in California…Where in California we will operate is a question mark, and the size and scale of business will be a big question mark,” he said.
The state implemented a law on Jan. 1 that seeks to reclassify ride-share and food-delivery drivers as employees, making them eligible for minimum wage, sick days and health insurance. Uber, Lyft Inc., DoorDash Inc. and others have collectively raised around $200 million to promote a ballot measure—the most expensive in California’s history—on Election Day that asks voters exempt them from the law.
Uber and its peers have said that the law would force them to make drivers work pre-scheduled shifts, robbing them of the flexibility they currently enjoy. Uber has said it would be able to hire just a fraction of its more than 200,000 drivers. Mr. Khosrowshahi on Tuesday said prices for consumers would rise between 25% and 100%.
“These are not made-up estimates,” he added.
Uber’s core ride-hailing service has been battered during the pandemic, while its smaller food-delivery business has soared. Global rides volume was down 50% year-over-year last month, Mr. Khosrowshahi said, with Hong Kong leading its recovery.
Uber’s food-delivery bookings more than doubled in the second quarter of the year, and Mr. Khosrowshahi said the business continues to see growth “well over 100%.”
Uber reports third-quarter results on Nov. 5, days after the election.