Less than an hour ago, by a unanimous vote, Seattle City Council passed legislation closing a loophole in workers rights laws so that taxi, for-hire, and on-demand drivers can organize and bargain over their pay and working conditions.
“Drivers across the country are watching what’s going on here today,” says Don Creery, a Seattle driver for both Uber and Lyft who was recently featured in the New York Times. Don went into debt when he bought a new car for his job—then watched as Uber & Lyft cut his pay with little notice and without him having any say. After today, he says, “They have to sit down with us and negotiate. We have to have a say.”
Now that we’ve set the standard for innovative workers rights legislation, other cities will likely consider similar proposals. But it started here in Seattle because drivers and passengers stood up to Uber and Lyft and demanded they respect our rights.
These billion-dollar companies with vast lobbying budgets came to town to try and stop this, and they used their whole bag of PR tricks: They tried to get good press by releasing an Uber-funded driver “survey” that said hey, everything’s fine, drivers love Uber. They filled the airwaves with TV and radio ads about how great these jobs are. Uber even brought their fanciest adviser, David Plouffe, to Seattle to try and sell people on the idea that drivers having rights is unnecessary and illegal.
They failed. (We’re wondering if Plouffe will get deactivated after this, or if they still give him 5 stars?)
This is what it looks like when workers come together to speak out, tell their own stories, and demand their rights. And it’s why we’re building a powerful statewide workers movement to continue to make that a reality in Washington State.