On October 2, the Seattle City Council has an opportunity to vote on innovative new legislation that takes an important step in the fight for driver and passenger rights in the Uber economy: It would give drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft the right to organize and collectively bargain with the multibillion-dollar companies they drive for.
CITY COUNCIL: IT'S TIME TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THIS LEGISLATION.
People use these services and drive for these companies for all sorts of reasons. But hundreds of Seattleites, including 15 city council members and council candidates, have joined together to say drivers and passengers deserve rights in the Uber economy.
Not everyone can make it to a 2 p.m. council meeting on a weekday, so we asked people to submit their own short testimony to city council about this bill.
Here are some of their voices:
"The last time I took an Uber or Lyft was yesterday, because I wanted a safe way to get home after a long day at work.
I want drivers to have a voice on working conditions and make a living wage."
—MOZART, INTERNATIONAL DISTRICT
"The last time I used Uber was about 3 months ago.
I use Uber to help me get to doctor's appointments that I cannot drive to. Also, I am disabled and my car is old. If I could, I would give up my car altogether. I could then use a service like Uber when buses wouldn't work for me.
I have lived in Seattle my whole life. It is quickly becoming unaffordable. I think we should support higher wages. Seattle is for all of us."
—KAREN, LAKE CITY
"The last time I used Uber or Lyft was on Friday, so I could get home safely after a night at the Decibel Festival.
I want to live in a city where all workers have a right to earn a living wage for the labor they provide the businesses they work for."
—JADÉ, CENTRAL DISTRICT
"The last time I used Uber or Lyft was 3 months ago, for a ride to the airport.
I support on-demand drivers' right to organize because I care about: Living wages.
I am moving to Seattle in 2 weeks. I am attracted to Seattle because of its leadership on progressive issues and social justice. The 'gig economy' is transforming our economy. Seattle can lead the way, showing that these new jobs provide a fair, living wage. I want to live in a city where everyone has the opportunity to live a healthy life. These are our hard-working brothers and sisters. Please act to allow collective bargaining rights to these drivers."
"The last time I used Uber or Lyft was a week ago, because I needed to get home quickly.
These people need to make a living just like me."
—MARK, CAPITOL HILL
"The last time I took Uber or Lyft was in April, 2014 because I was working, it was part of the culture to use Uber, and I was with a person who had the app on her phone and we needed a cab.
As more options become available, they need to have an equal playing field. It seems fair that they have this right to organize."
—JULENE, UNIVERSITY DISTRICT
The last time I took Uber or Lyft was 2 weeks ago, because it was late and the bus wasn't coming for a long time
All workers deserve to be protected and I know the drivers are hard-working people trying to make ends meet. I've heard their stories because I ask when I'm their passenger, and want them to be protected."
—Michele, West Seattle
"The last time I took Uber or Lyft was this morning, because I don't own a car, and needed to get to work faster than the bus could.
As a city that has committed itself to social justice, fair wages, and an equitable approach to governance and business, I ask that you stand by these values, and stand with our drivers."
—BRIANNA, WEST SEATTLE
"The last time I used Uber or Lyft was last month to go to the airport.
These workers deserve to be fairly represented and treated with respect and dignity. They perform a vital service to our community and they reap huge profits for the Employers that they work for. Seattle should be ready to set the tone for the rest of the nation and make sure that no one works for free — and everyone has a fair chance to provide for their families.
I sincerely hope that the City Council is ready to do the right thing and that Uber and Lyft also recognize that these workers' deserve and opportunity to be heard and elect whomever they want as advocates in that regard."
Every person's job should pay a living wage. Employers and contracting companies should not get to have a service they won't pay a living wage for. If they want it, they should have to pay for it."
"The last time I used Uber or Lyft was last Halloween, because we didn't want to drive while intoxicated!
I want the drivers to be able to afford to provide this service. Uber shouldn't just be taking advantage of people trying to exploit themselves by working second jobs and longer hours."
The last time I took Uber or Lyft was 2 months ago, to go to the airport.
I don't want someone who is underpaid driving me trying to hurry to make more money and thus putting my life and theirs, and all those on the roads at risk. The people should have the rights and power, not the corporations. Corporations should work for the people they serve not the other way around. The workers are 'the people.'"
—Tim, West Seattle/Alaska Junction
"The last time I used Uber or Lyft was a few weeks ago, when the bus was unavailable.
It is immoral to allow 'independent contractor' to be a pretext for workers' rights violations."
"The last time I used Uber was in September. I needed a (very early morning) ride to King Street Station to catch my train. Taxis don't seem to be reliable when called to pick up in West Seattle; I have had at least 5 instances of calling a cab to pick me up for a ride to the train or airport in the very early hours, and have them not show up. I finally switched to Uber because they were reliable, trackable, communicative, and safe.