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Seattle Uber Drivers Unionize

Uber Unionize

The beautiful city of Seattle made history just last week when it became the very first city in the United States to allow Uber drivers to unionize. Uber, for those not in the know, is a popular service that allows people to use their own vehicles as part-time “taxis.” They receive alerts through a service when someone needs a ride and then respond to them for pay. The new union includes not just Uber drivers but also drivers who work for other, similar services, such as Lyft.

The newly formed union will seek to provide protection when it comes to matters such as pay and working conditions for these drivers. However, the city’s mayor is not overly happy with the idea of a union for these workers, and it is already being said that the union will likely be up for debate in local courts.

The mayor, Ed Murray, has made it known that he does not plan to sign the bill, which stipulates that all involved companies must provide the city with a list of drivers operating in Seattle and that the drivers would work as a support network, contacting one another and gaining support of their affiliated companies.

Unfortunately for the unionizers, the mayor isn’t the only one who objects to the idea. Major companies Uber and Lyft have opposed the ordinance as well and are also likely to take the issue to court. Uber’s main adviser, David Plouffe, has criticized the ordinance heavily and very publicly. Furthermore, the company is suing King County and the law firm that represents the union, hoping that it will be able to stop the county from making public the number of drivers that Uber employees in the city.

Representatives from both Lyft and Uber have spoken out, claiming that the ordinance violates the privacy of the drivers, will raise costs for passengers, and generally create conflicts with both city and federal laws that are currently in existence.

Representatives from both Lyft and Uber have spoken out, claiming that the ordinance violates the privacy of the drivers, will raise costs for passengers, and generally create conflicts with both city and federal laws that are currently in existence.

Others, however, see the attempt to unionize as merely the latest in a series of efforts to protect workers’ rights and promote economic justice. They point to the fact that many Uber and Lyft drivers operating in Seattle are unable to find work in other ways and thus rely heavily on their driving careers. Many also point out the conflict of interest that exists when Uber and Lyft overtake people who make their living as full-time independent contractors through other companies. While only time will tell what the verdict will be, it is obvious that opinions and emotions are running wild on this issue and that the verdict and eventual outcome will be a long-awaited one.