Seattle union rules for drivers draw opposition from Uber, Lyft
- Seattle’s Finance and Administrative Services department released rules on Uber drivers’ unionization status, reports the Seattle Times. The proposed ruling would allow a union vote only to drivers who have clocked 90 days with the company and have made 52 or more trips to and from the city in any three-month period during the past 12 months.
- Seattle’s city council passed an ordinance last December that gave drivers, as independent contractors, collective-bargaining rights with for-hire car companies, taxi service companies and app-based dispatchers such as Uber and Lyft. The council left the rule-making up to FAS, which will hold a hearing for public comment on Dec. 6.
- Uber, Lyft and the unions pushed for the ordinance but are slamming the rule for giving bargaining rights to too few drivers. They advocate a vote for all drivers, since every driver would be covered by a union agreement.
Companies and unions seldom are on the same side of an issue, but in this case, both feel strongly that drivers without a vote are without a voice and that the rule undercuts the ordinance. Other opponents of the rule think that the few drivers with voting power will endanger work opportunities for thousands of others.
A representative of Local 117, which pushed for the ordinance, pointed out that of the thousands of Uber-app users requesting rides, 20% of the drivers provide 80% of the service. Although it’s unclear if FAS made the same observation in issuing its rule, the relatively small numbers of drivers making most of the trips would be a rational reason for limiting union votes to frequent drivers.