On Monday, December 14, Seattle City Council plans to vote on innovative legislation that would give drivers the right to bargain with billion-dollar companies like Uber for better pay and working conditions.
You can be sure Uber is lobbying hard against this proposal—they’ve sent their top adviser to town, they’re running nonstop TV ads, they had an industry association write an op-ed. Uber says drivers don’t need to have the same rights as other workers, and they deny retaliating against workers who speak out. But we know drivers are struggling to make ends meet because they’re speaking up about their low wages and working conditions, even in the face of “deactivation” by the companies they work for.
No other city is considering a proposal like this one, and we’re seeing it here in Seattle because drivers and passengers have been speaking out.
“I began making less than I did when I made minimum wage,” says Takele, who started driving for Uber after seeing ads that promised high wages. Now he has an $8,000 car loan and no idea how much money he’ll be able to make to pay it off.
Kim drives for Lyft in Seattle, and had just gotten an email from Lyft telling her she was a “platinum driver” with “dedication and experience.” Then, she went to a meeting about her rights at work. The very next day? “I got an email saying I was deactivated.”
Peter, a Seattle Uber driver, says: “I want to have rights in this business. It's no good that I'm your partner today, and then you suspend me, and then put me back again. I want to have security. If I have some rights, I have some negotiation in what happens. Riders have rights, I have rights, too."
Let city council know where you stand:
Once again, Seattle has a chance to make history for workers, and set a new standard for workers’ rights.