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.
At the hearing, drivers waved signs that read, “Pro-Union Driver” and “We want flexibility and a Union”. Driver participation at the event was so high the City had to temporarily close access to the hearing room.
“We had a big number - we filled the whole room. Next time we need 400 drivers,” said Mustafe Abdi, who has been driving with Uber for two years. “The city already passed the law, we need to start it now.”
As we get closer to the implementation of the new law, it’s important that we keep up the momentum. We need to let Uber know that a token increase in the minimum fare will not stop us from continuing to organize and speak out for real family wages, decent working conditions, and a collective voice for drivers.
Uber drivers need to be treated with respect, not as an expendable commodity that can be exploited and discarded at will. “They need to treat us like human beings and stop playing games,” Abdi said.