Uber Fights Seattle's Push To Make It Bargain With The Teamsters

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March 20, 2017

Uber Fights Seattle's Push To Make It Bargain With The Teamsters

Forbes | Daniel Fisher 

The Seattle City Council and Mayor Edward Murray really like unions, in particular the Teamsters. So much so, the city passed an ordinance in 2015 that requires Uber, Lyft and any other large ride-hailing service to enter negotiations with a union of the city’s choosing if a majority of their drivers vote to organize. Earlier this month, Seattle chose Teamsters Local 117 to represent the potential bargaining units.

It’s a unique law that Uber will try and block at a hearing in state court in Washington tomorrow afternoon, arguing the ordinance is arbitrary and capricious in how it was enacted and how it defines which drivers can vote. The ordinance limits the vote to drivers who have handled 52 rides in a three-month period in the year before Jan. 17, 2017, which Uber says disenfranchises thousands of drivers who use the service less frequently or who started driving after Jan. 17.

“Although drivers who …drive only a few hours a week (e.g., the occasional airport trip) will not have a right to vote, they will still be subject to the terms and obligations of any collective bargaining agreement,” Uber says in a court filing. Uber also objects to the city’s choice of the Teamsters, which represents drivers at traditional taxi companies that would benefit from having their competitors hobbled with labor rules.

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