Monday, December 14, 2015

"Seattle is first city in nation to give Uber, other contract drivers ability to unionize"

This is not at all what Silicon Valley wants.*

From the Seattle Times:

The Seattle City Council voted 8-0 Monday afternoon to enact Councilmember Mike O’Brien’s ordinance giving taxi, for-hire and Uber drivers the ability to unionize
The Seattle City Council voted 8-0 Monday afternoon to enact Councilmember Mike O’Brien’s ordinance giving taxi, for-hire and Uber drivers the ability to unionize.

The National Labor Relations Act gives employees the right to collective bargaining. But taxi, for-hire and app-dispatched drivers are categorized as independent contractors, rather than employees, so those federal protections don’t apply to them.

Seattle would be the first city in the U.S. to establish a framework for contract drivers to organize and negotiate agreements on issues such as pay and working conditions.

Under the ordinance, a company would be required to provide the city with a list of its Seattle drivers. Then a nonprofit organization — most likely a union — would use the list to contact the drivers.

The nonprofit organization would need to gain the support of a majority of a company’s drivers to be designated by the city as their bargaining representative.

The ordinance would require the company to hammer out an agreement with the representative organization. The city would enforce the ordinance’s requirements through penalties such as fines but not by revoking a company’s license to operate.

The backdrop for the council’s vote is a nationwide conversation about what role governments should play in the country’s growing app-powered gig economy....MORE
* Teamsters Local 117 was instrumental in mobilizing the political clout and "assisted" in drafting the ordinance.

Uber had brought in former Obama campaign genius David Plouffe to do a little arm-twisting, apparently to no avail.

Dec. 10, 2014
What Uber Hath Wrought: The Coming Digital Labor Movement
The very last thing the poobahs of Sand Hill Road want to see. They overwhelmingly prefer NO unions. 
During the 2008* Democratic nomination campaign we pointed out that although the self-anointed Silicon Valley aristocracy were solidly behind Senator Obama, rank-and-file Dems in Santa Clara county went for Hillary 54.8% to Obama's 39.3% in that year's primary. 
The reason this gets interesting is a possible split between various constituencies.
For example the Teamsters union can't be very enthusiastic about the prospect of autonomous trucks.
The bad-apple cops responsible for repeat police brutality claims are protected in their jobs by very strong unions. Who do you go with, the protestors or the police unions?
I don't know how this all plays out but it seems easier to understand if we dispense with party labels and go with a plutocrats/peasants framework....
Dec. 12, 2014
As Chicago Prepares an App For Taxis to Compete With Uber, Giant Union AFSCME is Organizing Cab Drivers
Oct. 29, 2015
Watch Out Uber: National Labor Relations Board Interpretation Could Allow Many Taxi Drivers to Unionize
Dec. 4, 2013
Dear Teamsters, United Auto Workers: Google Is Trying To Crush Your Unions and Your Members (GOOG)
Here's how the Teamsters reacted to stress in 1934, the management guy heading for terra firma  died almost instantly of a crushed occipital lobe: