Drivers in Seattle’s for-hire industry expressed disappointment at yesterday's order by the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to temporarily block Seattle’s collective bargaining law.
“We’ve been waiting for two years to be union, to be human beings,” said Mustafe Abdi, an Uber driver and member of the App-Based Drivers Association (ABDA). “They say we are partners, we are not partners. We need medical, we need retirement, we need Social Security. We don’t make enough money, we don’t feel safe.”
Seattle for-hire drivers who work for companies like Uber and Lyft are not protected by traditional labor laws, such as Seattle's $15 an hour minimum wage law and its paid sick and safe ordinance.
"We've been waiting for two years to be union, to be human beings."
Uber and Lyft drivers sought assistance from Teamsters Local 117 to improve their pay and working conditions. In 2014, drivers formed ABDA to promote fairness, justice, and transparency in the industry. They helped pass a 2015 law that gave drivers in the City of Seattle the right to unionize.
On Thursday, August 24, Judge Robert Lasnik of the federal District Court of Washington issued an order that lifted a preliminary injunction blocking the law. Yesterday’s ruling by the 9th Circuit temporarily puts the law on hold again.
“We are confident the 9th Circuit will uphold the lower court’s ruling that gives drivers a voice as intended under the law. For-hire drivers should have the same right to self-determination shared by millions of working people across the country. Like other workers, they should be able to stand together in their union to improve their pay and working conditions,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117.
“We urge Uber to stop disenfranchising its drivers by trying to block the law. For-hire companies like Uber should welcome the law as an opportunity to forge a meaningful partnership with drivers to improve our economy and raise up safety standards for the public.”
Teamsters Local 117's statement on Judge Lasnik's ruling regarding for-hire law:
We are pleased to see that Judge Lasnik has ruled in favor of giving drivers in Seattle's for-hire industry a voice as intended under the law.
For-hire drivers in Seattle should have the same freedom afforded to millions of working people across the country. They should have the right to stand together in their union to improve their pay and working conditions. They should have the opportunity to contribute to improving safety and reliability to benefit the traveling public. This law enables them to accomplish those goals.
We urge companies like Uber and Lyft to stop their efforts to disenfranchise their drivers by attempting to undermine the law. They should welcome the judge's ruling as it provides them with a real opportunity to partner with drivers to improve our economy and lift up our community.
We thank Judge Lasnik for allowing the law to work as it was intended: as an innovative effort to address the many challenges and injustices facing workers in the on-demand economy. This ruling benefits the community of drivers not only in Seattle, but across the country.
The winning team at Woodland Park Zoo. 83% of the Education Department voted to become members of Teamsters117.
As children and adults at the zoo flock to educators holding animals and explaining their behavior, did you know about their struggle? The education department at Woodland Park Zoo has been fighting for better wages and respect for a long time with little success.
“Many of us are not compensated enough as educators for the type of work that we do. We feel like we don’t have a voice. We’ve tried to address it year after year but were ignored,” shares Celwyn Green, an ambassador animal coordinator who has worked at the zoo for 30 years.
Drivers demanding fair working conditions and reinstating of their terminated coworker Ali Sugule (left).
“Unfair!” “Justice!” Loud voices of taxi drivers resonated across the parking garage at SeaTac Airport yesterday. East Side for Hire management stared in bitter frustration at drivers who exercised their right to collectively voice their issues with their dispatch company and the Port of Seattle who contracts with Eastside by suspending work for an hour. It was their second day demonstrating against inhumane working conditions and unjust retaliation by the company. Eastside for Hire has failed to reinstate the 18 drivers who were unjustly suspended for participating in a demonstration on August 21rst.
Taxi drivers at Sea-Tac Airport express their growing frustration with poor working conditions and unjust terminations.
Taxi drivers exerted their collective power at Sea-Tac Airport today by staging an hour-long work stoppage that sent Port officials and the drivers’ dispatch company reeling.
At approximately 9:30 a.m., drivers in the airport taxi lot got out of their cabs, raised signs, and began chanting, “Unfair, unfair!” Cab service for arriving passengers slowed to a trickle.
"I have to fight for my freedom."
“I work 16 hours to try to pay my bills. When I got home yesterday, I almost fell down,” said Alamu Tegegn. “I said to myself, ‘If I continue like this, I will die.’ So I have to fight for my freedom.”
The strike represented the culmination of months of frustration over humiliating working conditions and the unjust termination of union supporter, Ali Sugule.
On August 8, Sugule had criticized the airport dispatch company, Eastside For Hire, in public testimony at a Port Commission meeting. His dispatch services were revoked later that week.
Teamsters at Shuttle Park 2, an airport parking lot in SeaTac, voted to unanimously ratify their contract last Sunday. We had been in bargaining since May. The company has a history of complicated negotiations.
“Previous contract negotiations lasted over a year,” says Guled Ali, a Teamster and Shuttle Park 2 employee who was present at the bargaining table. “It went faster this time because we had better experience.”
Teamster driver Ali Sugule with his family. Sugule is fighting for his job after Eastside For Hire revoked his access to dispatch.
Port of Seattle commissioners spent the better part of their two and a half hour special meeting yesterday discussing a range of issues, including airport expansion and biofuel production, but when it came to taking public comment from drivers who are being exploited at the Port’s expense, they cut matters short.
The reason? They had a luncheon to attend.
“We have a hard stop on this meeting at 11:14,” said Commission President Tom Albro at precisely 11:07 A.M. That gave the public all of seven minutes to testify on critical issues impacting airport workers and the community.
A dozen or so Teamster drivers had been waiting more than two hours to speak out on a range of injustices at the airport. The drivers had taken precious time away from their workday to express their concerns, but had to leave without testifying when the Commission unexpectedly shut down the meeting.
Pharmacists Annalisa Thomas (PharmD) and Roland Lopez (PharmD) at work at Kelley-Ross Pharmacy Group.
Imagine you had a very young child with a critical medical condition that caused seizures. Suppose the medicine to stop it was available, but your daughter couldn’t take it because of its taste. What would you do then? Who would you turn to for help?
This is the request that Roland Lopez, PharmD, a compounding Pharmacist and Teamster at Kelley-Ross Pharmacy Group received. “We created the special flavor for her and she has been successfully on the same tasty medication for 2 years,” he said. “Now every Christmas her family stops by to say thank you.”
Members of the SuperValu union bargaining committee.
Teamsters in the grocery warehouse industry continue to win strong contracts.
This Saturday, our members who work at SuperValu voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new one-year agreement. The contract proposal was fully recommended by our union bargaining committee.
The new contract contains wage and pension increases, health and welfare protections, and for the first time Local 117 members employed at the company will have coverage for domestic partners under their health plan.
The economic benefits and other improvements helped offset the short term of the agreement. “Our company’s going through transition,” said Greg Wiest, a 28-year Teamster and member of the bargaining committee. “There’s a lot of uncertainty right now. But this was a good deal given that it was a one-year deal.”
Members who work at Fleetlogix are fighting for a fair contract. (From l to r) Farhia Adam, Macario Espinoza, Hassan Mohamed, Surnder Singh
At the rental car facility that serves Sea-Tac Airport, Teamsters are everywhere you look. We’re booking vehicles going out, and inspecting them as they return. We’re shuttling busloads of travelers to and from the airport. We’re washing and vacuuming cars, and driving them to the rental lots across the street.
One group, our members at Fleetlogix, is in the midst of a tough contract fight. They spend their workdays transporting vehicles around the facility and the region, north to Everett and south to Tacoma, for the Avis Budget Group. These members have been working without a contract since the middle of March as their employer continues to make substandard proposals at the bargaining table.
“We need to stand up for our co-workers and our community,” said Hassan Mohamed, who joined the group just a few months ago. Mohamed is studying business administration at Bellevue College and uses his hard-earned wages to help pay for school.
Today, member leaders and staff were passing out buttons to all members, on all shifts to demonstrate solidarity before upcoming contract negotiations on August 10.