Uber drivers in Seattle, who founded the App-Based Drivers’ Association (ABDA) last month, have sparked new organizing efforts by Uber drivers in Los Angeles.  The Los Angeles drivers have reached out to Seattle organizers and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters looking for guidance and support. 

“Uber drivers in cities across the country are facing the same issues that we are, and many have reached out to us. Like us, they are concerned about unjust working conditions, and they are looking for fair treatment, dignity, and a voice at work,” said Daniel Ajema, one of the founders of ABDA.

The Los Angeles drivers, frustrated by what they perceive as a general lack of communication, arbitrary treatment, and unfair business practices, have planned to hold a demonstration at the Uber Technology, Inc. offices in Santa Monica, California, on June 24.

Drivers called for a demonstration when the company informed its Uber Black and Uber SUV drivers that vehicle models older than 2010 would be pulled from the platform.  Drivers were only given two weeks to purchase newer vehicles.  Although Uber offered to let the older cars and SUVs function under the less expensive UberX platform, Uber drivers are concerned that the fuel-to-fare ratio makes the option economically unfeasible.  

Uber drivers in California are also supporting proposed legislation (AB 2293) that would require TNCs to purchase insurance for vehicles utilizing their technologies from the moment the driver application is activated until it is turned off.  UberX vehicles are operating without such coverage, as Uber has exploited an ambiguity in the rules which fails to define when an Uber driver is in service.

Teamster representatives in Seattle recently negotiated an agreement that, if approved by the City Council, would require TNCs to provide “app-on to app-off” insurance for its drivers, but the company appears to be blocking the proposed California bill.

With a recent infusion of 1.5 billion dollars in venture capital, Uber is now valued at 18.2 billion dollars.