Uber drivers in NYC gain union representation — sort of

Dive Brief:

  • In a pact between the ride-hailing company Uber and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Uber drivers in New York City are now represented by a union, the Independent Drivers Guild, says the New York Times.
  • Guild officials told the Times that the unusual agreement was the most practical way to improve the drivers’ working conditions. The guild persuaded New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission to include a tip option on Uber’s app, which could generate millions of dollars for Uber drivers.
  • The Times also reports that labor officials and others are criticizing the Guild for allegedly using unethical tactics to get other drivers to join. Some also question Uber's monetary ties to the guild

Dive Insight:

This agreement comes at a time when unionization is declining nationwide. But with the rise of gig and contract work, it's the latest potential "solution" for a growing body of workers that don't have benefits or steady pay.

Guild critics allege that drivers are refusing to pick up passengers who turn down paying the upfront tip. Critics also accuse the guild of using unethical tactics to get Lyft drivers and others to become members, not allowing drivers to vote on key issues, being too influenced by Uber and not fighting as strongly as it could to reverse pay cuts. If the allegations pan out, it could spell trouble for the guild.

Either way, both the government and the private sector have been looking for ways to maintain contract work while also protecting the workers. Various bills have been proposed to Congress, but so far, none have reached serious consideration.

Filed Under: HR Management