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Uber pegs HQ job growth to Quinn veto

Wednesday, Jul 9, 2014

* From a press release, with emphasis added for reasons I’ll explain in a bit…

On Tuesday, Uber Technologies was joined by Illinois lawmakers, business leaders and tech community members to showcase their new Midwest Headquarters here. During the event, Andrew Macdonald, Uber’s Regional General Manager for the Midwest and Canada, highlighted the economic impact the company has had on the city of Chicago and announced projected job growth for Uber’s Midwest hub.

Under existing regulations and market conditions, Uber projects it’s Midwest headquarters will more than quadruple in size between now and 2016. The Midwest office started 2014 with 45 employees, a number that quickly grew to 75 staff members and is expected to reach approximately 500 employees by the end of 2016.

* Both highlighted phrases are connected. As Greg Hynes explains, those 500 jobs come with a big catch

While the company is not seeking state Edge tax credits, tax increment financing subsidies or other incentives, it does want Gov. Pat Quinn to veto or amend a bill on his desk that Uber says conflicts with its business model and imposes heavier regulation than a recently approved city ordinance. Both measures govern ride-sharing companies that rely on smartphone applications and part-time drivers.

“We’d still add jobs” if Mr. Quinn signs the pending legislation as is, says Andrew Macdonald, Midwest general manager at the company, formally known as Uber Technologies Inc. “But to what extent, we don’t know.” […]

The new jobs will include legal, communications, marketing and other support staff, Mr. Macdonald said. On its current path, the company expects to hit the 125 mark by the end of the year and to double that in each of the next two years. That’s well above the 150 or so spots that the company spoke about earlier this year in a story by my colleague Ryan Ori.

But if the state “slams the brakes on,” Mr. Macdonald continued, “We’ll have to keep our eyes on the situation.”


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - OneMan - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    At least they are being open about it, that’s something.

  2. - Team America - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 12:37 pm:

    It’s “its” not “it’s” Pet peeve. Every company should be required by law to hire an English major as a proofreader; that would spur the economy!

  3. - William j Kelly - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 12:39 pm:

    Read this article before your next uber ride.

  4. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 12:40 pm:

    Quinn: My offer is nothing, and I would appreciate you paying all the licensing fees upfront, after I sign the Bill into Law.

  5. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 12:44 pm:

    Is Greg Hynes related to Dan Hynes?

  6. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 12:46 pm:

    It seems difficult to trust projections made by entities seeking to nudge politicians in one direction or another.

    Those projections rarely seem to pan out, whether it is a government agency, nonprofit or private enterprise making them. Conscious or not, people appear to shade such projections when they stand to gain from doing so.

  7. - Robert the Bruce - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 12:46 pm:

    While it sounds like a threat, if the regulations pass, Uber might have trouble growing.

  8. - Arizona Bob - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 12:46 pm:

    This will be a promise that’ll be very tough for Quinn to keep. There’s a lot of pressure coming from the overpriced cab companies to kill Uber competition in Illinois and throughout the World.

    A couple of weeks ago I was in London and Paris and the taxis and transit workers there went on strike to have their government create a law to consolidate national and regional transit workers unions and eliminate application based ride services like those provided by Uber.

    It was kind of strange to see unions striking to get laws passed instead of for more money and benefits.

    Anyway, we used one of those “Uber” services to get to the station in London, and it was about half the price as the taxis there. We were picked up in a Mercedes sedan and had a great driver.

    If you think the taxi industry is highly regulated here, go to London sometimes. They have a special cab vehicle that must be used and is used by no other drivers, and getting licensed as a driver takes about two years and requires the driver to have memorized, and be able to locate, about 45,000 street names. I guess they never heard abut GPS.

    they also have a “congestion fee” if an individual driver drives on certain roads in the city. It runs about 11 pounds (about $18) for this fee, which they use license plate CCTV shots to establish much as we do red light cameras at right turns. Fees for taxis are much less.

    In Chicago crony capitalism, politics usually kills this type of competition that benefits the consumer. It’ll be hard to fathom how the powerful taxi lobby won’t win out here with Quinn.

  9. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 12:48 pm:

    If Quinn issues a veto, Uber will still be operating in Chicago under the city’s rideshare ordinance.

  10. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 12:49 pm:

    the brain trust on Fox last night illustrated this story with footage of cars wearing big furry pink moustaches. Can anyone tell them why that’s wrong? Class?

  11. - Dirty Red - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 12:51 pm:

    To me, this bill was never about increasing safety. As has been said on this blog, it was a monopoly crying safety to protect its empire. Both chambers went along with it. I have to say, I am somewhat surprised Uber would still consider expanding in Chicago after the whole episode.

    Perhaps that speaks volumes about the city’s value as an economic engine and transportation hub. It begs one to ask what else the city could do without such episodes. For that matter, it makes me wonder what the city - and state for that matter - would be like without so many bullies in the pulpit.

    I agree with OneMan. They are being open about it, which is not only honorable but smart politics.

  12. - Frank G. - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 12:54 pm:

    I have mixed emotions about this issue. Feel bad for the cabbies who pay those big medallion fees and deal with all the regulation…but their business model is so old-school. Uber is so much more user friendly.

    I also have a problem with the taxi people bringing their fight to Springfield after not getting everything they wanted out of city hall. State government, as far as I know, has never regulated taxi services in any way, shape, or form. It has always been a function of local government.

  13. - AlabamaShake - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 1:00 pm:

    **Is Greg Hynes related to Dan Hynes?**

    Being that it is Greg Hinz, which is spelled differently than Hynes, I’m going to go with no.

  14. - Arizona Bob - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 1:02 pm:

    I read your Huffie Post article WJK. So much for your “conservative” credentials. Any conservative WANTS competition, and would be dead set against these “medallion” ripoffs that cities use to get undeserved revenues. By keeping the supply of medallions artifically low, the price for those politically connected enough to get one skyrockets.

    I take cabs quite a bit,and Chicago Metro taxi drivers are among the worst around. They don’t know the area, towns or how to find addresses, and some are really in need of improved hygiene.

    Ride services in Phoenix are pretty interesting, and are truly competitive, but unfortunately the competition doesn’t benefit the consumer. Each driver for a company is given a car and gas, but they need to bid with other drivers to get a scheduled fare for a ride. The rider gets charged the same regardless of the bid price.

    Taxi and car services like Uber understand and appreciate competition, but unfortuntely they rarely share the benefits with consumers.

  15. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 1:05 pm:

    How many cab drivers are we gonna lose compared with the 500 we supposedly will gain from Uber?

  16. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 1:09 pm:

    –I am somewhat surprised Uber would still consider expanding in Chicago after the whole episode.–

    I’m guessing because they can make a lot of money by doing so. I don’t think it’s charity.

    I guess it’s Uber Alles or out (though I doubt that).

  17. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 1:12 pm:

    There is always Texas! :-)

  18. - Knome Sane - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 1:15 pm:

    William j Kelly (aka Lar Daly): you never answered my question from yesterday: what would YOU do to stem the gangland murders, fix the pension crisis, etc?

  19. - Left Leaner - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    William j Kelly - The author of the column you cited decries the hand of government in the evolution of Uber while acknowledging the heavy hand of government in the taxi cab industry. So which one is un-American?

    Society is going the way of Uber and companies like it. Time for the taxi cab industry to adapt or vanish. Same for the rest of use.

    For the record, I use Hailo and support cabbies, but I also know change when I see it coming.

  20. - Goooner - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    Great of Uber to make the jobs comparison. It is good that the people in Springfield see the actual consequences of their actions.

    In Illinois, we do have a tendency to go over board with regulation.

    We are sort of the Democratic version of West Virginia (where there is no regulation at all).

    There’s got to be a middle ground, and it is time for Democrats (yes, when it comes to business, it is usually Democrats, despite the fact that thing was bipartisan) to back off from “if it exists, government must have some control.

  21. - OneMan - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 1:26 pm:

    Thanks word, now I have to find my DK on itunes…

  22. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 1:30 pm:

    Uber, meet Governor Rick Perry.
    You’ve obviously confused Illinois with Texas, so he should be able to help you out.

    He’ll even probably pay for all your employees to relocate to say, Pecos. Pecos is really nice this time of year, especially when the temps drop below 100.

  23. - Mason born - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 1:44 pm:


    Let’s make it easy for him simple yes or no question.

    William do you agree with Roland Martin’s piece in the Daily Beast?

  24. - William j Kelly - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 1:45 pm:

    Left leaner, the author of THAT article must be a dope!;)

  25. - William j Kelly - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    Knome, I have lived in Chicago my whole life, I don’t need to read an article, the answer is more cops.

  26. - Mike M - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 1:58 pm:

    More importantly, how much can we expect Uber to donate to the campaign funds of state and local candidates?

  27. - William j Kelly - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 1:59 pm:

    FYI I wasn’t referring to the daily caller author as a dope I was referring to the Huffington post author as some kind of dope.

  28. - Downstate - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 2:03 pm:

    It seems to me that Uber’s model of being dispatched (via app) to a pick-up is much “greener” than taxi’s driving around looking for a fare and simply wasting gas.

  29. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 2:41 pm:

    ==We are sort of the Democratic version of West Virginia (where there is no regulation at all).==

    West Virginia is heavily Democratic. Replace the party term with some other term of affiliation.

  30. - Liz Miller - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 3:06 pm:

    Taxi companies protesting against Uber is akin to telegraph companies protesting against email. Evolve or perish. Go to to try out Uber or Lyft for yourself! The website compares the two most popular ride-sharing services. $30, $25 of FREE ride credit for new passengers and up to $500 sign-up BONUS for new drivers!! Drivers can make as much as $40/hr! Hope you can see what all the hype is about :) Thanks!!

  31. - Cheswick - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 3:12 pm:


  32. - Cheswick - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 3:15 pm:

    Sorry for my previous comment. Meant to say: Way to slip in a free advertisement.

  33. - Joan P. - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 3:16 pm:

    “Uber projects it’s Midwest headquarters will more than quadruple . . .”

    I hope one of those new employees is a proofreader.

  34. - Left Leaner - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 3:19 pm:

    William j Kelly - The author still didn’t answer my question. ;)

  35. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jul 9, 14 @ 3:43 pm:

    ===Taxi companies protesting against Uber is akin to telegraph companies protesting against email===

    Meh. In the loop, it’s just so much easier to hail a cab.

  36. - AlabamaShake - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 6:41 am:

    **In the loop, it’s just so much easier to hail a cab.**

    And so much easier to use Uber outside of the loop.

  37. - joe - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 3:53 pm:

    we will lose 14000 cab drivers jobs instead of 500 new jobs..

  38. - houses for sale by owner - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 7:36 pm:

    My partner and I stumbled over here from a different
    web page and thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you.
    Look forward to exploring your web page again.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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