Author Topic: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize  (Read 675 times)

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Offline adace

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Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« on: December 18, 2015, 04:06:22 AM »
http://www.cnet.com/news/seattle-grants-uber-lyft-drivers-right-to-unionize/

As a "gig worker" in Los Angeles (I do deliveries), the idea of a union sounds pretty great. I get paid $13 an hour + gas compensation which sounds decent on paper but really isn't considering maintenance, insurance and the fact that L.A.'s minimum wage is set to go up to $15 an hour in a few years. Plus the lack of an overtime bonus (and I frequently do overtime) is pretty frustrating as well.

So yeah, I would most likely join a gig worker union if the city legalizes it. I'm a bit hesitant about employee status though because I do like the flexible hours of this job.

And when it comes to Uber, well I think that a company worth more than GM can afford to pay its drivers more than the crap wages they've been getting.


Offline Chino

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2015, 05:45:58 AM »
I'm okay with this.

Offline kaos2900

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2015, 06:34:25 AM »
I don't like unions in any shape or form.

Online El Barto

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2015, 08:20:11 AM »
Unlike Kaos there are times I appreciate unions. This doesn't sound much like one of them, though. Like you said, the salary doesn't sound terrible for what you do, and simply wanting more money isn't one of the reasons for me to support unionization. Who doesn't want more money. You have flexible hours, which you like, and the pay isn't unfair or exploitative. Not sure what the OT situation is, but it doesn't sound like you're required to do it.
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Offline Stadler

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2015, 08:58:22 AM »
Unlike Kaos there are times I appreciate unions. This doesn't sound much like one of them, though. Like you said, the salary doesn't sound terrible for what you do, and simply wanting more money isn't one of the reasons for me to support unionization. Who doesn't want more money. You have flexible hours, which you like, and the pay isn't unfair or exploitative. Not sure what the OT situation is, but it doesn't sound like you're required to do it.

They have a place.  I'm with el Barto, though that this isn't it. 

Offline cramx3

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2015, 11:21:17 AM »
If unionizing means higher prices for Uber then I don't see much of a point in using Uber.  The advantage is that it is cheaper than a cab, once they lose that advantage then I don't see the point.  I don't know if unionizing means that however.

Offline Stadler

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2015, 08:34:27 AM »
Of COURSE it does.  Where is the money going to come from???  It doesn't grow on trees.  That's the problem with unions.  They aren't management, and while I'm sure there will be 100 posts with obscure examples of malfeasance, in the vast majority of cases the management of the company is best suited to determine what wages are appropriate. 

Offline Cool Chris

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2015, 10:50:57 AM »
The advantage is that it is cheaper than a cab...

I am not following this as I never use Uber/Lyft, or Taxis for that matter, but I thought the advantage to Uber/Lyft in their flexibility/mobile app-ability/not being in a stinky old cab with someone who doesn't speak English?
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Offline cramx3

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2015, 10:59:01 AM »
The advantage is that it is cheaper than a cab...

I am not following this as I never use Uber/Lyft, or Taxis for that matter, but I thought the advantage to Uber/Lyft in their flexibility/mobile app-ability/not being in a stinky old cab with someone who doesn't speak English?

I use Uber a lot and it depends on who you get, but cabs are consistent in driver and car. I've had a couple bad experiences with Uber being dirty car, or bad driver, or doesn't speak english. In general I'd say the cars are nicer but being cheaper and having a convienent app are what makes Uber better than a cab.

Offline KevShmev

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2015, 12:32:57 PM »
Unions are what I call a necessary evil.  They are often times so corrupt and often fight the worst battles, but without them, the working man would get squashed by the big dogs, so we gotta have them.

Offline Stadler

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2015, 07:49:45 AM »
Unions are what I call a necessary evil.  They are often times so corrupt and often fight the worst battles, but without them, the working man would get squashed by the big dogs, so we gotta have them.

But that's the myth; in SOME cases, you're right, but not in ALL cases.  GE for example; their non-union plants are generally safer, have higher average wages, have better benefits, have greater productivity, and have higher quality metrics.  Across the board.    You'll google, and you'll get the pro-union story (which paints a different picture on it's face, until you dig in to the numbers), but in a tough economy, GE is moving workers BACK to America (in certain industries) because of non-union plant productivity. 

Offline eric42434224

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2015, 09:09:08 AM »
Well it isn't a "myth" if it is necessary, and actually works, in certain circumstances.  Like most things, unions have a place and can have needed positive effects in some situations, but not all.
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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2015, 10:28:41 AM »
I have an odd stance with unions, in that I appreciate them for the things that earn them the most flack. They're very similar to the ACLU in that regard. In my book making sure that some chester doesn't get railroaded or receive a less than fair trial is vital to all the rest of us, so in insuring their rights they're protecting us from similar abuses. In the case of unions, it's the teachers and the cops that need them most. Despite the examples of rotten teachers being paid to sit at home because firing them would be too troublesome, or the outright lies that the police unions crank out every time some cop does something naughty, those are both professions where false allegations are both common and devastating. Moreover, we're at a point where accepting them as fact, whether warranted or not, is by far the more preferable response due to public blowback. If you're a member of a school board, you don't want to spend 3 weeks investigating whether or not your tennis coach is banging one of the students (and they always are :eyebrows:). You'd rather just sack him and quietly move on as if nothing ever happened. This applies similarly to some poor sap who gets accused of grabbing some girl's ass just because he gave her a D on a report, or took her to jail for a 3 year old traffic cite.

While I don't think the unions have the member's well being as their number one priority, there are definitely instances where they have some interest as opposed to a management faced with political ramifications.

None of this applies to Uber, though.
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Offline Stadler

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2015, 12:05:26 PM »
I have an odd stance with unions, in that I appreciate them for the things that earn them the most flack. They're very similar to the ACLU in that regard. In my book making sure that some chester doesn't get railroaded or receive a less than fair trial is vital to all the rest of us, so in insuring their rights they're protecting us from similar abuses. In the case of unions, it's the teachers and the cops that need them most. Despite the examples of rotten teachers being paid to sit at home because firing them would be too troublesome, or the outright lies that the police unions crank out every time some cop does something naughty, those are both professions where false allegations are both common and devastating. Moreover, we're at a point where accepting them as fact, whether warranted or not, is by far the more preferable response due to public blowback. If you're a member of a school board, you don't want to spend 3 weeks investigating whether or not your tennis coach is banging one of the students (and they always are :eyebrows:). You'd rather just sack him and quietly move on as if nothing ever happened. This applies similarly to some poor sap who gets accused of grabbing some girl's ass just because he gave her a D on a report, or took her to jail for a 3 year old traffic cite.

While I don't think the unions have the member's well being as their number one priority, there are definitely instances where they have some interest as opposed to a management faced with political ramifications.

None of this applies to Uber, though.

Well, that's just it; those are more advocacy roles in terms of specific members, as opposed to the collective bargaining role that unions have taken (and in my humble opinion, abused) in recent times.  I don't have any problem with a worker association that provides and protects an employee from a one-off incident that they can't possibly handle on their own.   But to strong arm a company into an extra $1.00 an hour that ultimately serves to shut that plant down outright (too many examples to cite) is penny-wise and pound foolish.   If it was cost-effective, jobs would stay in America just fine.  Companies don't off-shore because it's fun or easy, believe me.

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2015, 12:49:57 PM »
I have an odd stance with unions, in that I appreciate them for the things that earn them the most flack. They're very similar to the ACLU in that regard. In my book making sure that some chester doesn't get railroaded or receive a less than fair trial is vital to all the rest of us, so in insuring their rights they're protecting us from similar abuses. In the case of unions, it's the teachers and the cops that need them most. Despite the examples of rotten teachers being paid to sit at home because firing them would be too troublesome, or the outright lies that the police unions crank out every time some cop does something naughty, those are both professions where false allegations are both common and devastating. Moreover, we're at a point where accepting them as fact, whether warranted or not, is by far the more preferable response due to public blowback. If you're a member of a school board, you don't want to spend 3 weeks investigating whether or not your tennis coach is banging one of the students (and they always are :eyebrows: ). You'd rather just sack him and quietly move on as if nothing ever happened. This applies similarly to some poor sap who gets accused of grabbing some girl's ass just because he gave her a D on a report, or took her to jail for a 3 year old traffic cite.

While I don't think the unions have the member's well being as their number one priority, there are definitely instances where they have some interest as opposed to a management faced with political ramifications.

None of this applies to Uber, though.

Well, that's just it; those are more advocacy roles in terms of specific members, as opposed to the collective bargaining role that unions have taken (and in my humble opinion, abused) in recent times.  I don't have any problem with a worker association that provides and protects an employee from a one-off incident that they can't possibly handle on their own.   But to strong arm a company into an extra $1.00 an hour that ultimately serves to shut that plant down outright (too many examples to cite) is penny-wise and pound foolish.   If it was cost-effective, jobs would stay in America just fine.  Companies don't off-shore because it's fun or easy, believe me.
Oh, I get that and I agree.

I'll throw this out there just for clarity, though. Not all of the examples of a union running a company out of business are actually what they seem. The famous example is the thing with Twinkies a while back, where the company folded because the union wouldn't budge on salary demands. Despite the CW that it was the union and employees that were at fault, management was the problem all along. The employees were actually exceedingly generous in their willingness to be strung along for years. The management finally created a situation where the employees would all be better off losing that job than taking yet another cut in pay and benefits.

Again, not being argumentative. I think more often than not your assessment is correct. You cited that there were numerous examples, and I'm just pointing out that one of the big ones was actually bullshit.
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Offline Stadler

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2015, 03:22:15 PM »
I understand, and I understand where you're coming from.  That was high profile for many reasons (not least of which, we like our snack food).   But as a general proposition, it's bad for business to be a robber baron in this day and age. 

Offline bosk1

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2015, 03:59:15 PM »
My stance on unions is well documented.  But the reason I am posting is because the thread title and title of that article are misleading and show a failure to understand how unions work.  The drivers were not "granted" the right to unionize.  That right already existed under the law.  For all intents and purposes, ANY workers in this country have the right to unionize if they so choose.  Misleading title is misleading.
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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2015, 04:06:50 PM »
My stance on unions is well documented.  But the reason I am posting is because the thread title and title of that article are misleading and show a failure to understand how unions work.  The drivers were not "granted" the right to unionize.  That right already existed under the law.  For all intents and purposes, ANY workers in this country have the right to unionize if they so choose.  Misleading title is misleading.

Except the Northwestern football team, but that was because they were not deemed workers for the University which is an arguable point for a different discussion.

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2015, 07:32:54 PM »
I have an odd stance with unions, in that I appreciate them for the things that earn them the most flack. They're very similar to the ACLU in that regard. In my book making sure that some chester doesn't get railroaded or receive a less than fair trial is vital to all the rest of us, so in insuring their rights they're protecting us from similar abuses. In the case of unions, it's the teachers and the cops that need them most. Despite the examples of rotten teachers being paid to sit at home because firing them would be too troublesome, or the outright lies that the police unions crank out every time some cop does something naughty, those are both professions where false allegations are both common and devastating. Moreover, we're at a point where accepting them as fact, whether warranted or not, is by far the more preferable response due to public blowback. If you're a member of a school board, you don't want to spend 3 weeks investigating whether or not your tennis coach is banging one of the students (and they always are :eyebrows:). You'd rather just sack him and quietly move on as if nothing ever happened. This applies similarly to some poor sap who gets accused of grabbing some girl's ass just because he gave her a D on a report, or took her to jail for a 3 year old traffic cite.

While I don't think the unions have the member's well being as their number one priority, there are definitely instances where they have some interest as opposed to a management faced with political ramifications.

None of this applies to Uber, though.

Well, that's just it; those are more advocacy roles in terms of specific members, as opposed to the collective bargaining role that unions have taken (and in my humble opinion, abused) in recent times.  I don't have any problem with a worker association that provides and protects an employee from a one-off incident that they can't possibly handle on their own.   But to strong arm a company into an extra $1.00 an hour that ultimately serves to shut that plant down outright (too many examples to cite) is penny-wise and pound foolish.   If it was cost-effective, jobs would stay in America just fine.  Companies don't off-shore because it's fun or easy, believe me.

But when you can have your stuff made under horrible conditions in a country where they will barely feed their family on pennies a day, that becomes much more appealing to the greedy than to simply give your home-boys a decent paycheck that they can live comfortably on.    ...and I'm not talking about flipping burgers here.  I'm in a specialized trade (electrician), and what bugs me the most is that...while you can't off shore construction...you certainly can sacrifice safety for time.   And this attitude is even creeping into union shops, sadly enough.   Because safety costs money.   Yes, accidents cost money too...but what about simple body abuse?  There are ways you can do things carefully, and ways you can do things not so carefully.    Maybe a 100 times, nothing happens, or a thousand.   That one time that it does happen, it may be a tweaked back.   That one fairly minor accident is most likely cheaper than the cost incurred than the time lost making sure EVERYONE does it properly.    But the cost on your body in the long run, is horrible.   

I now have thoracic outlet syndrome (think carpel tunnel...but in the shoulders and going all the way up my arms).   It's from spending an entire career (with literally DOZENS of companies) working over my head.   What's the answer?   Don't work over head?   That's not very practical.   Do you think my current employer cares?  Do you think my past employers care?    Do you think any of them want to pay for my treatment?     Do you think my next employer will want to hire a middle aged veteran who can't move as fast?      Many construction workers have careers about as long as professional athletes.   Yes, there are many that work into their 60's, but it's usually as a supervisor at that point.   

My union does things like make sure that shops employ a certain amount of employees over 50....do you think the companies would do that all on their own?  Out of charity?    I understand that you will most definitely come up with a pretty good reason why this rule is a bad idea, but I do think that workers absolutely need to be protected.   As long as we live in a society where the only thing that matters is "the bottom line", companies honestly do not care about making sure their employees live comfortably.
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Offline Stadler

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2015, 07:24:54 AM »
I have an odd stance with unions, in that I appreciate them for the things that earn them the most flack. They're very similar to the ACLU in that regard. In my book making sure that some chester doesn't get railroaded or receive a less than fair trial is vital to all the rest of us, so in insuring their rights they're protecting us from similar abuses. In the case of unions, it's the teachers and the cops that need them most. Despite the examples of rotten teachers being paid to sit at home because firing them would be too troublesome, or the outright lies that the police unions crank out every time some cop does something naughty, those are both professions where false allegations are both common and devastating. Moreover, we're at a point where accepting them as fact, whether warranted or not, is by far the more preferable response due to public blowback. If you're a member of a school board, you don't want to spend 3 weeks investigating whether or not your tennis coach is banging one of the students (and they always are :eyebrows:). You'd rather just sack him and quietly move on as if nothing ever happened. This applies similarly to some poor sap who gets accused of grabbing some girl's ass just because he gave her a D on a report, or took her to jail for a 3 year old traffic cite.

While I don't think the unions have the member's well being as their number one priority, there are definitely instances where they have some interest as opposed to a management faced with political ramifications.

None of this applies to Uber, though.

Well, that's just it; those are more advocacy roles in terms of specific members, as opposed to the collective bargaining role that unions have taken (and in my humble opinion, abused) in recent times.  I don't have any problem with a worker association that provides and protects an employee from a one-off incident that they can't possibly handle on their own.   But to strong arm a company into an extra $1.00 an hour that ultimately serves to shut that plant down outright (too many examples to cite) is penny-wise and pound foolish.   If it was cost-effective, jobs would stay in America just fine.  Companies don't off-shore because it's fun or easy, believe me.

But when you can have your stuff made under horrible conditions in a country where they will barely feed their family on pennies a day, that becomes much more appealing to the greedy than to simply give your home-boys a decent paycheck that they can live comfortably on.    ...and I'm not talking about flipping burgers here.  I'm in a specialized trade (electrician), and what bugs me the most is that...while you can't off shore construction...you certainly can sacrifice safety for time.   And this attitude is even creeping into union shops, sadly enough.   Because safety costs money.   Yes, accidents cost money too...but what about simple body abuse?  There are ways you can do things carefully, and ways you can do things not so carefully.    Maybe a 100 times, nothing happens, or a thousand.   That one time that it does happen, it may be a tweaked back.   That one fairly minor accident is most likely cheaper than the cost incurred than the time lost making sure EVERYONE does it properly.    But the cost on your body in the long run, is horrible.   

I now have thoracic outlet syndrome (think carpel tunnel...but in the shoulders and going all the way up my arms).   It's from spending an entire career (with literally DOZENS of companies) working over my head.   What's the answer?   Don't work over head?   That's not very practical.   Do you think my current employer cares?  Do you think my past employers care?    Do you think any of them want to pay for my treatment?     Do you think my next employer will want to hire a middle aged veteran who can't move as fast?      Many construction workers have careers about as long as professional athletes.   Yes, there are many that work into their 60's, but it's usually as a supervisor at that point.   

My union does things like make sure that shops employ a certain amount of employees over 50....do you think the companies would do that all on their own?  Out of charity?    I understand that you will most definitely come up with a pretty good reason why this rule is a bad idea, but I do think that workers absolutely need to be protected.   As long as we live in a society where the only thing that matters is "the bottom line", companies honestly do not care about making sure their employees live comfortably.

As someone who started out in the environmental construction industry (VERY safety oriented) and later became EHS (Enviroinmental, Health and Safety) Counsel for a $4B division of a Fortune 5 global company, I could not agree with you more.  Safety is paramount.  Lost man hours cost FAR more than the protocols to prevent those lost man hours.  Those losses are in the form of higher healthcare premiums, lost productivity, cost of having redundant staff (to take up the slack of the lost man), potential suits, and sometimes (depending on the industry) lost work or more expensive work (some owners and primes require contractors with a lower safety record to have higher insurance and bonding capabilities).   So I'm with you, 1000%.

Unions are not the way to get there. 

Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« Reply #20 on: December 23, 2015, 11:08:46 AM »
My stance on unions is well documented.  But the reason I am posting is because the thread title and title of that article are misleading and show a failure to understand how unions work.  The drivers were not "granted" the right to unionize.  That right already existed under the law.  For all intents and purposes, ANY workers in this country have the right to unionize if they so choose.  Misleading title is misleading.
Well, Uber was arguing that it's drivers aren't employees, but rather independent contractors, many of whom work 10 hours or less per week.  And they are right.

But Seattle decided that they are actually employees, so they can unionize.
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Offline bosk1

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« Reply #21 on: December 23, 2015, 11:28:12 AM »
Yes, but that is still different from saying that they were "granted" the right to unionize. 
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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle given right to unionize
« Reply #22 on: December 23, 2015, 01:32:10 PM »
*shrugs*
Hef is right on all things. Except for when I disagree with him. In which case he's probably still right.