Working Washington Executive Director Sejal Parikh made the following comments at Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien’s press conference announcing his proposed legislation to secure drivers’ right to organize at Uber, Lyft, and other transportation companies:
"My name is Sejal Parikh; I’m the Executive Director of Working Washington, which helped coffee and fast food workers in Seattle launch their demands for $15 and airport workers launch their demand for $15 in SeaTac.
Many things were remarkable about both of those campaigns, not least of which is that workers, just like the workers you just heard from, were courageous and stood up against these multi-billion dollar corporations - and won. But, what else is remarkable is that consumers and drivers and others in SeaTac and Seattle stood side by side with those workers all along the way.
Each time the corporations tried to deny their responsibilities.
Alaska Airlines tried to sub-contract their jobs out so that they wouldn’t have to pay living wages, but that does not change their responsibility to pay living wages at the airport.
McDonald’s corporation tried to hide behind franchises, but that doesn’t change their responsibility for poverty wage jobs in fast food.
And none of Uber’s little tricks change their responsibilities to drivers and passengers who use their app.
In our city, in our Seattle, multi-billion dollar companies should not get special loopholes. That’s not what the public wants.
Drivers and passengers both want things like safety, and transparency, and knowing that their fares are going towards paying a living wage. It’s actually all in our “Passenger/Driver Bill of Rights” on our Driving for Dignity website that launched last week. And we’ve already heard from passengers — tremendous response in support of drivers. In fact, one of our very first sign-ups was an Uber lobbyist.
Uber is tricky. We’ve seen across the country that they’ve fought back against policies that they don’t like. In New York we saw them launch “DeBlasio Mode.” In other cities we’ve seen them launch hordes of lobbyists against policies that they don’t like.
But not in Seattle. This is our city. Seattle isn’t like other cities - and workers and passengers in this city will prevail."