Oxford Internet Institute has published “Towards a Fairer Gig Economy”, a collection of articles examining the social and economic problems associated with the “gig” economy. Entries are penned by academics, researchers and include an article written by our Local 117 Association Policy Coordinator, Dawn Gearhart.
"Unions cannot collectively bargain with an algorithm, they can’t appeal to a platform, and they can’t negotiate with an equation."
In “Giving Uber Drivers a Voice in the Gig Economy”, she examines the impact of automatized app platforms on drivers in a system designed to disempower workers. Technology that was welcomed for new opportunities brought with it stagnant problems: falling wages, long hours and poor working conditions. Organizing app-based drivers presents a new challenge for the unions, and yet Teamsters have led this fight.
“Unions cannot collectively bargain with an algorithm, they can’t appeal to a platform, and they can’t negotiate with an equation.”
Gearhart highlights successful efforts of the drivers to reverse adverse effects of the new technology by creating the ABDA association, mobilizing against cuts in pay rates and working to successfully pass legislation in Seattle that empowers drivers.
You can read more here.
Uber drivers at the company office in Tukwila on April 4. The group was there to protest unfair deactivation.
Judge Lasnik Emphasizes Order Should Not be Read as Harbinger of Final Decision
Seattle for-hire drivers who are seeking to unionize under the city’s new collective bargaining law are determined to continue their organizing efforts after a federal district court judge issued an order temporarily blocking the new law.
"This is just going to make us come together and fight more."
“It’s disappointing, but it’s not going to stop us,” said Musse Bahta, who has driven for Uber for four years. “There are so many drivers who are ready to stand up for their rights. We are standing together with our union. This is just going to make us come together and fight more.”
Another Uber driver, Peter Kuel, also vowed to continue the organizing efforts. “The judge needs to understand what we’re going through. It’s too much. We feel the pain doing this job. We are not going to give up. We will continue fighting for those who cannot speak themselves,” he said.
Don Creery, a union supporter who has been driving with Uber since 2014, said drivers are facing so many issues that the ruling would not prevent them from continuing to seek representation.
“There are so many problems. We’re not being paid adequately. That means you work longer hours, which means you’re not safe. We have no benefits – that’s an issue. I work full-time for a 70 billion company. The American taxpayers should not have to subsidize my health care. That’s not right.”
In his ruling, Judge Lasnik made it clear that the temporary injunction should not be interpreted as indicative of a final decision in the case:
“The Court emphasizes that this Order should not be read as a harbinger of what the ultimate decision in this case will be when all dispositive motions are fully briefed and considered. The plaintiffs have raised serious questions that deserve careful, rigorous judicial attention, not a fast-tracked rush to judgment based on a date that has no extrinsic importance.”
For more information, please contact Dawn Gearhart at 206-794-6678 or email@example.com.
Dozens of Uber and Lyft drivers filled a Seattle City Hall hearing room today to demand better working conditions and a voice.
Drivers held signs that read, "Pro-Union Driver" and "Raise Up Uber: Make Uber Jobs Good Jobs."
The City is in the process of establishing rules that govern its new law that gives drivers the right to unionize. The hearing allowed the public to weigh in on the new rules.
"I came here today to fight for our rights. We need to have a union."
"I came here today to fight for our rights. We need to have a union," said Mustafa Abdi, who has driven for Uber and Lyft for three years. "We need to have the same rights that other Americans who work at other companies have. As Uber drivers, we are slaves of Uber. They can deactivate us whenever they want - we don't have any rights."
Another driver, Abdi Haj, talked about the difficulty of earning a living wage in the for-hire industry.
"Uber doesn't care about its drivers. They just want to dominate the market," he said. "We work 12 hours and make less than $100. That's less than Seattle minimum wage. We have a family to support."
To support drivers in their effort to win a living wage, please sign our online petition at www.RaiseUpUber.org.
Union supporters in the for-hire industry at a Seattle City Council meeting in August last year.
Uber has spent the better part of two years trying to stop their drivers from having a voice.
They have repeatedly blocked their drivers’ right to unionize in the courts, run anti-Union ads in the Seattle Times and during a nationally-televised Seahawks game. They even have their own podcast aimed at silencing drivers.
Instead of raising standards for drivers who have repeatedly decried the company’s lack of transparency, poor working conditions, and low pay, Uber has focused its efforts on making sure drivers have as little control as possible over their own livelihoods.
Uber’s most recent attempt to silence their drivers involves a letter to the City of Seattle contesting our Union’s application to become a qualified driver representative under the City’s new collective bargaining law.Read more
A network of European and North American unions, labor confederations, and worker organizations issued a call yesterday for transnational cooperation between workers, worker organizations, platform clients, platform operators, and regulators to ensure fair working conditions and worker participation in governance in the growing world of digital labor platforms such as Clickworker, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Jovoto, and Uber.
The growth of “platform-based work” poses both opportunities and risks for workers and for society at large, and is a chance for a “co-operative turn” in the relationship between worker organizations and management, according to the document, titled the “Frankfurt Paper on Platform-Based Work.”
The participating organizations made the following joint statement:Read more
When Uber drivers come together and speak out with one voice, good things happen.
Just two days after drivers packed a hearing room at City Hall to demand swift, fair implementation of the City’s new collective bargaining law, the company announced that it would raise its minimum fare from $4.00 to $4.80.
That means that drivers who get dispatched on short trips will see a modest increase in their earnings. As far as we know, Seattle is the only city where Uber is offering a higher minimum fare for drivers.
The reason for that is clear. Uber drivers in Seattle are getting more engaged in the political process. They’re letting the City, the company, and the public know that they want their rights under the new law to be respected.Read more
Drivers celebrating the passing of the historic Seattle ordinance allowing them to form a union.
Taxi, Uber and Lyft Drivers in Seattle scored a major victory this week when a federal judge threw out a lawsuit challenging the Seattle ordinance giving drivers collective bargaining rights.
The judge ruled that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce could not stop the implementation of the ordinance that was unanimously passed by the City Council.
Taxi and app-based drivers have now cleared a major hurdle toward having a voice over their wages and working conditions.
The drivers who worked for years getting the Seattle law passed celebrated the decision.Read more
Check out our new video featuring Takele Gobena, a longtime driver for Uber and Lyft and a member of our App-Based Drivers Association.
In the video, Takele talks about the importance of having a Union, and how Seattle's new collective bargaining law helps gives drivers a voice. Our Union, Teamsters 117, played a pivotal role in helping to pass this groundbreaking legislation.
Please take a moment to watch the video and share it with your family and friends. Thank you!
Uber driver Peter Kuel, who was stripped of his ability to work on the company’s app two weeks ago, thanked fellow drivers and the Teamsters Union for their support in helping him regain access to Uber’s for-hire driving platform. Kuel was notified of his reinstatement by phone and in an email from the company on Wednesday.
“I’m feeling very proud of what the Teamsters did and the members of the association,” Kuel said.
A leader of the App-Based Drivers Association (ABDA) and outspoken advocate for unionization, Kuel was deactivated without notice on February 10. He visited Seattle’s Uber offices on three different occasions in an effort to resolve the issue but was unable to obtain a clear answer about why he was taken off the app.Read more
Things have gotten so bad that Uber drivers like Takele Gobena are reporting making less than $3/hr.
You can HELP DRIVERS NOW and ensure that the public is protected by signing a Bill of Rights for Passengers and Drivers in the On-Demand economy:
- PASSENGER AND DRIVERS’ BILL OF RIGHTS - SIGN HERE
Your support will help pressure companies to treat drivers fairly and keep you informed about new legislation designed to give for-hire drivers a voice.
Please sign now! Thank you!