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.
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
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!
If you want an excellent primer on our fight to organize and improve working conditions for Seattle-area for-hire drivers, look no further than this article that was published today in the American Prospect.
It's quite an extraordinary piece and call our Union - Teamsters 117 - the "spearhead of the battle" to create a more equitable city for all Seattle residents, not just the wealthy few.
It's long, but definitely a worthwhile read.
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