FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 12/14/2015
Council Adopts First-of-its-Kind Legislation
to Give Drivers a Voice on the Job
SEATTLE - City Council unanimously adopted legislation today that will give eligible drivers at taxi, for-hire, and transportation network companies ("TNCs", e.g., Uber, Lyft) a voice on the job and the opportunity to negotiate for improved working conditions at their companies. The bill, co-sponsored by Councilmember Mike O'Brien and Councilmember Nick Licata, will create a process whereby a majority of independently contracted drivers working for the same company could choose to join a Driver Representative Organization to negotiate the pay rates and conditions of their employment.
"We've heard from Seattle drivers making sub-minimum wage, and companies like Uber have turned a deaf ear to their concerns. This bill was only introduced out of necessity after witnessing how little power drivers themselves had in working for a living wage," said Councilmember Mike O'Brien. "This is groundbreaking legislation and I am proud Seattle is continuing to lead the nation in advancing labor standards for our workers."
These drivers are considered independent contractors and, as such, are not covered by the National Labor Relations Act that provides for collective bargaining between employers and unions representing employees. Independent contractors are also excluded from a host of labor standards other workers have, such as minimum wage and hour laws, health and safety standards on the job, or reimbursements for workplace related costs. Over the past few years, Seattle has implemented ordinances to raise local labor standards that these drivers are exempt from, including the new minimum wage, paid sick and safe leave, wage theft, and fair chance employment. This legislation gives drivers a chance to address these issues in their industry.
In addition to setting the framework which provides a majority of drivers the option to join a Driver Representative organization, the legislation also establishes penalties for failure to comply with the new framework, including interest arbitration and the possibility of fines.
For more information on the legislation, refer to this page on Councilmember Mike O'Brien's website: http://www.seattle.gov/council/issues/VoiceForDrivers/.
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