Uber seeks to stop Seattle unionization effort in its tracks

Dive Brief:

  • As unionization efforts sweep through the company's Seattle location, Uber is openly trying to persuade its drivers not to take part, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • Uber seeks to persuade the drivers through a series of podcasts, texts and meetings to try and inform drivers of the limitations that unionization could bring. However, proponents note that it could provide more steady income and working conditions for drivers and sweep to other progressive cities.
  • Unionization would likely threaten the company's independent contractor model, which has been under threat due to numerous lawsuits for a few years now. The company has threatened to leave Seattle if the unionization effort succeeds.

Dive Insight:

One key issue at play here is the jurisdiction of the NLRA. The NLRA only provides provisions for full-time employees, but that doesn't mean Uber unionization is doomed. Collectivized driver pressure on Uber could put more pressure on the company to ensure more stability, even if the independent contractor model remains in place.

So far, Uber's business model has survived most court challenges thrown its way, though it continues to struggle with settlement of its massive California case. Many consider the company a model of the gig economy, and watch the company as a signal of how that model will work.

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Filed Under: HR Management Corporate News