Union Busting the Uber Way

Posted: March 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

By the time the Teamsters starts organizing Uber drivers in Seattle next month, the ride-sharing company will have already spent a year fighting the effort.

The company has run advertisements against unionization in its app and on television, hosted meetings, and sent emails and phone calls to drivers. Its podcast for Seattle drivers, in which it hashes out arguments against joining a union, is already on its 18th episode.

“As I’m sure you know,” says Brooke Steger, the general manager for Uber in the Pacific Northwest, in episode 18 of Uber’s podcasts, “We at Uber do not believe the Teamsters can serve as a fair and effective representative for drivers.”

“Brooke, I agree,” responds a driver who is identified only as “Frederick” and uses the flat, steady tone of someone who is reading a script. “As a small business owner…I don’t want to hand over my flexibility and freedom to anybody, especially an organization that has fought so hard to keep Uber driver partners off the streets of Seattle.”

Steger has throughout the podcast’s run called the prospect of a union “very, very scary,” “super scary,” and “really, really scary.”

Anti-trust laws generally prohibit unions from organizing independent contractors, but Seattle passed a first-of-its-kind ordinance in late 2015 allowing collective bargaining of Uber and Lyft drivers. Teamsters local 117 got final approval March 3 to organize independent drivers who work for apps or taxi companies. Uber will now be required to hand over contact information for its drivers to the organizers, who have 120 days to gather support from those who joined the platform before Oct. 20, 2016, and have taken at least 52 rides within a three-month period.

“Companies are using the same old tricks,” says Dawn Gearhart, who works as a coordinator with the Seattle Teamsters chapter, but with Uber, privately valued at $68 billion, it’s “to a $70 billion extent.” Uber’s spending to fight the Teamsters, while unknown, appears large. The company even ran a television commercial during a Seattle Seahawks game warning against unionization. “I’ve never seen an anti-union podcast before. I’ve never seen anything about the Teamsters during a national football game,” Gearhart says. . .

via Uber has produced 18 episodes of a podcast warning drivers about the dangers of joining a union — Quartz

Comments
  1. Emily says:

    If they don’t unionize because of all the money Uber has spent I will not use them anymore.

  2. I’m definitely of the same mind, Emily. The way Uber exploits and oppresses their drivers is quite shocking and I refuse to participate in this exploitation: https://stuartjeannebramhall.com/2016/06/07/ubers-car-leasing-program-turns-its-drivers-into-modern-day-sharecroppers-quartz/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s