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.
Check out photos from the 2014 Teamsters Car & Bike Show, held on Saturday at the Teamsters Hall in Tukwila.
The event raised over $5,400 for the Union's Solidarity Scholarship for continuing education.
2014 Teamsters Car & Bike Show Winners
- People’s Choice Best Car – Richard Knowles (Local 174 Retiree)
- People’s Choice Best Bike – James Scearcy (FSA - Local 117)
- People’s Choice Most Unique – Randall Marquis (City of Auburn - Local 117)
- Judge’s Choice Best Bike – Glenn Magat (FSA - Local 117)
- Judge’s Choice Most Unique – James Morgan (Praxair - Local 117)
Thank you to all of the members and their families who came out to make it such a great event!
Last night's general membership meeting kicked off with Secretary-Treasurer Thompson awarding the 2014 Jeff Alfieri Scholarship to four ambitious and talented young women.
Samantha Haley, Gabrielle Hickok, Madison Budinich, and Monica Szelachowski received this year's honors after demonstrating academic excellence, determination, and drive in the scholarship application process.
- Samantha, a senior at Rainier High School, plans to pursue a bachelor's degree in biology and ultimately a doctorate in veterinarian medicine at Washington State University. Her father, William Haley, is a member at Golden State Foods.
- Madison, whose father, Thomas Budinich, works at Franz Bakery, intends to pursue a pre-medicine and linguistics degree at the University of Washington.
- Monica will use her scholarship award to continue her studies of acupuncture and oriental medicine as a student at Bastyr University. Her father, Michael Gwerder, is a member at Lineage.
- Gabrielle plans to study civil and environmental engineering at the University of Washington. In her application, Gabrielle writes: "I value the Union and their mission within the community. My father, Kevin Hickok, has been with Local 117 for over 34 years, and I always hear from him how grateful and indebted he is to the Union."
Congratulations to the award recipients and special thanks to the Alfieri family for generously founding the scholarship award in honor of their son Jeff, a former Local 117 Business Representative.
The Local 117 Jeff Alfieri scholarship of up to $2000 is awarded to outstanding students whose parents are members of Teamsters Local 117.
Please join us for one of our signature Teamster charity events – our annual Teamsters Car & Bike Show – on June 21 at the Teamsters Union hall in Tukwila (14675 Interurban Ave. S).
Rods, customs, classics, and choppers will be on display starting at 9:30 a.m. There will be raffle prizes, goodie bags, cheap grub, and a bouncy house, balloon artist, and coloring station for your kids.
If you’d like to enter a vehicle in the show, you can access a pre-registration form here. The first 30 members who pre-register will receive a complimentary Teamsters T-shirt. If you and your family are just coming to browse and enjoy the day, the event is free!
This event is sponsored by Teamsters Local 117, Local 174, JC 28, and the Teamsters caucuses to benefit the caucuses and the Local 117 Solidarity Scholarship for continuing education.
The Seattle City Council took an historic step yesterday toward beating back income inequality and improving the lives of workers. On a vote of 9-0, the Council approved an ordinance that will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour after an adjustment period.
The vote came after an intense two-hour debate, during which workers and labor activists urged the Council to strengthen the ordinance. Councilmember Kshama Sawant introduced amendments that would have sped up implementation, removed tip credit language, and eliminated a sub-minimum wage for youth and the disabled, but her bids were summarily rejected by a majority of the Council.
But even without these fortifying measures, the ordinance remains a tremendous victory for workers. Seattle can now claim the highest minimum wage in the country. Effective April 1 of 2015, thousands of low-wage workers will see increases in their take home pay. The new law means that fewer workers will have to rely on public assistance, and more working families will have the resources to pay the rent, send their kids to the doctor, and put food on the table.
Throughout the process, members of Teamsters 117 have been vocal supporters for increasing the minimum wage. We have participated in the planning of events, met with councilmembers and the mayor, emailed and called our representatives, and helped forge the $15 For Seattle coalition, an alliance of labor and community groups aimed at building a stronger, more just society for workers.
We have been involved in the fight for $15 for good reason. A $15/hr minimum wage will directly impact Local 117 members in the parking and steel industries in Seattle. Hundreds of Teamster members will benefit from the new law. A higher minimum wage will boost the local economy by putting more money in people’s pockets. Workers will have more disposable income to spend at local grocery stores, restaurants, and small businesses. Local 117 members in other industries will benefit as well. With a higher floor, we can now make a much stronger case for negotiating higher wages for all of our members.
This victory couldn't have been possible without workers banding together and taking action to demand change. Brave fast food workers at McDonalds and other chains around the country went on strike to protest low wages. Baggage handlers, fuelers, wheelchair pushers, parking attendants and others in and around Sea-Tac Airport spoke out against their poverty wages and in favor a fair day’s pay.
With CEO earnings skyrocketing to 257 times the average worker, this vote marks an important shift in an economic landscape that has benefited the 1% at the expense of workers. Now, more workers can gain a foothold into the middle class and realize our society’s promise – that we can build better, more secure lives for ourselves and our children.
Seattle is leading the country in the effort to make a livable wage a reality for all workers.
On Thursday, a City Council committee unanimously passed an ordinance that will increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour after a phase-in period.
The committee voted to adopt some minor changes to the Mayor’s initial proposal, but the overall spirit remains in tact. The full Council is expected to finalize the resolution on Monday and send it to the Mayor to be signed into law.
This victory marks a critical step toward rebuilding a strong middle class. No one deserves to live in poverty. And when we lift the floor for low-wage workers, we can make a strong case for increasing wages for Union members as well.
To celebrate this victory, please join us for a rally outside City Hall (600 4th Ave.) on Monday, June 2 at 1 P.M. At 2 P.M., we will pack the Council chambers to show our support for the law. After the vote, most likely around 3 P.M., we will be gathering again at the City Hall plaza at 4th and Cherry to continue the celebration.
Thank you to all of you who emailed and called your representatives. Your voice made all the difference!
Working families all across the country are fighting to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. Now the spotlight is on Seattle. This Thursday, the City Council could vote on amendments to the Mayor’s $15 minimum wage proposal.
Corporate interests are intensively lobbying the City Council to water down the proposal. We believe the Council should make the ordinance stronger, not weaker.
Raising the minimum wage benefits all of us. It strengthens our economy by putting more money in people’s pockets. As a Union, lifting the floor helps us negotiate higher wages for all of our members. Together, it allows us to build an economy from the middle-class out, not “trickle down.”
Please call and/or e-mail City Councilmembers today to let the Council know that you support raising worker wages in Seattle.
Here is a sample message to communicate to the Councilmembers:
"I urge you to vote now to approve the Mayor's $15 minimum wage proposal, with no delays and no weakening loopholes. Seattle City Council needs to:
- Refuse to submit to corporate pressure to amend or water down the proposal.
- Reject a "training wage" loophole. Sub-minimum wages will only encourage some employers to substitute young workers for existing employees, or to take advantage of vulnerable persons with disabilities. The training wage only institutionalizes discrimination.
- Ensure a more adequate enforcement mechanism. The City should have enforcement authority including active investigations of violations, and not just sending responses to worker complaints.
Mayor Ed Murray: (206) 684-4000
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw: (206) 684-8801
Councilmember Tim Burgess: (206) 684-8806
Councilmember Sally Clark: (206) 684-8802
Councilmember Jean Godden: (206) 684-8807
Councilmember Bruce Harrell: (206) 684-8804
Councilmember Nick Licata: (206) 684-8803
Councilmember Mike O'Brien: (206) 684-8800
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen: (206) 684-8808
Councilmember Kshama Sawant: (206) 684-8016
Thank you for joining Teamsters 117 in supporting a living wage for all workers!
On June 29th, Teamsters Local 117 will march in the LGBT Pride Parade in Seattle. In previous years Local 117 has maintained a booth at the Seattle Center, which marks the end of the parade route. Why is Local 117 marching? “Because this is a workers’ rights issue,” explains Dustin Lambro, who is the Political Coordinator for 117. Dustin has been given the responsibility to coordinate and tackle the logistics of organizing this march.
“The Teamsters have a proud history of standing up for everyone, regardless of race, gender, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. That's why on Sunday, June 29th, we will participate in Seattle Pride. All members, gay or straight, are invited to march with us that day to show our solidarity with our LGBT sisters and brothers,” Dustin explained.
“It is important to have a presence in this event. The Teamsters have always supported equal rights, Civil Rights, and we have a deep long lasting legacy of that in this community. Local 117 has an obligation to lift ALL of us up; after all, our strength is in our unity. No one should be discriminated against, and we remind ourselves what the Teamsters stand for, ‘An injury to one is an injury to all’”.
Let's give a warm Teamsters welcome to our new private sector Business Representative, Kris Fish. Kris joins the private sector team with 16 years of experience as a Teamster.
Kris became a Teamster in 1998 when he went to work in the warehouse at Pacific Seasonings. A year later, he moved to Nabisco/Kraft/Mondelez, another Teamster shop, where he worked for 14 1/2 years, with the last six years in the role of Shop Steward.
Kris was one of the founders of the Union’s Teamsters for Tomorrow (TFT) caucus, and he helped organize the first TFT conference in the country, which was held at Teamsters Local 117 in 2009.
“I want to achieve greater membership involvement in all areas to help make our Union a powerful force to be reckoned with,”
- Kris Fish
He is a hardcore Union activist and stood in solidarity with his Brothers and Sisters on strike at Seattle Cold Storage, UNFI, Coke, and Davis Wire. Kris was also instrumental in achieving the passage of the Sea-Tac Good Jobs ordinance that raised the minimum wage for thousands of low-wage workers around Sea-Tac Airport.
In recognition of his outstanding leadership qualities, Kris was hired as a Local 117 Business Representative, and he began his job on April 16, 2014.
Kris will have a diverse jurisdiction and will represent members in a variety of industries.
Uber and UberX drivers met in Tukwila today to begin the process of forming an association which will work with Teamsters Local 117.
The drivers voted to approve by-laws, and they elected a 7-member leadership council that will run the day-to-day operations of the organization. Job security, wage gouging, public safety, and a refusal of transportation network companies, such as Uber, Sidecar, and Lyft, to adhere to local laws and industry standards compelled the drivers to organize.
The new association will be called the App-Based Drivers’ Association (ABDA).
“We congratulate the drivers on taking this courageous step,” said Tracey A. Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “We intend to use our expertise in representing workers to ensure that the drivers are treated fairly and their concerns are heard.”
The new association plans to tackle a number of issues. Drivers want to bring transportation companies into compliance with municipal, county, and state regulations and laws. They want sufficient liability coverage to protect themselves and their customers, and they want companies to end the predatory practices of disconnecting drivers from their apps without cause and arbitrarily gouging drivers’ pay.
“Today is an historic day for all app-based drivers in King County,” said Daniel Ajema, an Uber driver, who is one of the organizers of the association. “We set a framework for the future and for the workers who follow us. From now on, our dignity will be protected in the workplace.”
“The association will give us a voice, more control over our working conditions, and an opportunity to be heard. Teamsters will help us with that.” said Ydediya Seifu, another organizer and elected leader.