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Uber Drivers Get a Break in Seattle
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Uber seattle

Summary: Seattle has passed a new law requiring companies like Uber to let their drivers form unions at the expense of the city.

Seattle has become the first city in the country to allow ride-hailing drivers from companies such as Lyft and Uber to form unions over pay and working conditions. The City Council voted in a landslide 8-0 despite the displeasure of the ride-hailing companies and known legal challenges that will follow from them.


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The workforce has been changing with more companies hiring contract workers instead of employees, denying them the rights employees have to unions and benefits. This case is seen as a test case for future cases that are similar. The passed measure requires companies that contract with taxi drivers and other similar positions to bargain with their drivers when a majority shows they want to be represented by a nonprofit organization certified by the city.

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The passed legislation coming from Seattle is not a surprise, as the city has been a leader in workers’ rights with things such as raising the minimum wage to $15 and requiring most employers to give paid sick days.

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Councilmember Mike O’Brien said, “My intent is to make sure that the people, the drivers, the workers in our community continue to have access to good wage jobs.” He goes on to explain that many of the drivers are immigrants that need full-time work but end up making less than minimum wage and do not receive basic worker rights. Independent contractors are not protected by the National Labor Relations Act.

Uber will likely fight back claiming the new labor law violates federal antitrust laws. Seattle has around 10,000 Uber drivers.




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