Sunday, April 24, 2016

California Uber Drivers Partnering With Teamsters Union

There are quite a few dimensions to what is going on here so lets start with the latest.
From, April 22:

Uber Drivers in California Seek to Form Association with Teamsters
California Uber Drivers Begin Push to Affiliate with Teamsters Joint Council 7
(SAN FRANCISCO) –– After receiving overwhelming outreach from Uber drivers, representatives of Teamsters Joint Council 7 have announced plans to form an association for workers in California’s rideshare industry.

The drivers approached the Teamsters seeking benefits, a dispute resolution procedure, legal and tax services, advocacy assistance, and a stronger voice on the job. As a transportation union, the Teamsters are uniquely poised to help.

“We welcome any Uber drivers seeking to improve their working conditions. By coming together, the Teamsters will help these drivers have a stronger voice and improve standards for rideshare drivers in California,” said Rome Aloise, Teamsters International Vice President and President of Teamsters Joint Council 7.

The Teamsters Union has already formed an association for Uber drivers in Seattle under the App-Based Drivers Association (ABDA).

Teamsters Joint Council 7 notified Uber of their intent to organize California drivers yesterday.
In the past year, hundreds of drivers at tech companies, including Facebook, Yahoo, Apple, Google, eBay and others in Silicon Valley, have organized with Teamsters Local 853 in San Leandro, Calif. The union has negotiated strong contracts for the drivers, including good wages, benefits and workplace protections.

The Teamsters Union is part of a growing movement of labor, faith and community-based organizations and workers challenging income inequality in Silicon Valley through an innovative partnership called Silicon Valley Rising. For more information, visit
HT: engadget

As noted in the intro to December's "Seattle is first city in nation to give Uber, other contract drivers ability to unionize":
This is not at all what Silicon Valley wants.*
* Teamsters Local 117 was instrumental in mobilizing the political clout and "assisted" in drafting the ordinance.

In the instant case you have a CEO who has flat out stated his intent to get rid of employees:

And if you combine that with the coming autonomous trucks that will turn Teamster members into burger-flippers you understand why this could be a very big story.
There's at least one journalist who gets it, no points to regular readers for guessing who penned January's "If and when Uber drivers unionise…".

Just to make things really interesting, in the 2008 California Democrat primary there was a notable political dynamic in Silicon Valley. The oligarchs financed Barack Obama while the plebs voted for Hillary by a 12% margin.

We mentioned it in 2009: ...The bigwigs of the valley were serious Obamaniacs in the run-up to the general election even as Santa Clara county went for Hillary, 53.8%, to Barack Obama's 41.1% in the primary. 

Here are some of our prior posts as we figure out how to trade all this:
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: