Seattle City Council just took a big step to secure workers rights in the Uber economy

It’s unanimous: Uber & Lyft drivers win Seattle City Council committee vote to close $51 billion loophole in right to organize

"Multi-billion-dollar companies shouldn’t get special loopholes just because they know how to use a thesaurus"

7 - 0 committee vote already represents majority of full council; final vote expected soon


Working Washington issues the following statement in response to today’s Seattle City Council committee vote to advance a proposal to secure the right to organize for Uber & Lyft drivers, which has received strong support from passengers as well:

The Uber economy has torn a $51 billion loophole in workers rights — but Seattle City Council today just took a major step to close it. 

A key council committee voted unanimously this afternoon to advance an innovative new ordinance that will protect drivers’ right to organize and negotiate for higher pay and better conditions. The law would apply to professional drivers in the city, regardless of whether they’re hailed by hand, by phone, or by app, and regardless of whether the company they drive for wants to call them “employees” or prefers to call them “partners.” 

It even applies if the company wants to make up some other word for the relationship between the person doing the work and the corporation that controls their livelihood. Multi-billion-dollar companies shouldn’t get special loopholes just because they know how to use a thesaurus.

With today’s vote, Seattle is now poised to become the first place in the country to respond to the rapid growth of the the Uber economy in a way that embraces innovation and recognizes that passengers and drivers need basic rights, not corporate loopholes. 

When drivers have the right to bargain over their safety, wages, and working conditions, passengers & drivers both enjoy the benefits. Higher wages go back into our local economy, and when your workplace is the public roadway, a safer workplace means a safer city.

And just as the $15 movement spread from SeaTac & Seattle to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, and beyond, this new approach to basic rights in the Uber economy can also become a model for nation. 

(Though of course it still has to pass full council. But that vote is expected to be scheduled soon.)


Contact: Sage Wilson, Working Washington: