Uber hired CIA-linked research firm to investigate Seattle union politics
After a tense city council vote, the secretive firm was called in to investigate 'the dynamics of labor unions'
In an email obtained by The Verge, Ergo reached out to a labor historian named Trevor Griffey, seeking insight into "the recent developments in labor unionization in Seattle" and offering to pay for consultation work on the topic. The email was sent in mid-January, roughly a month after the collective bargaining ordinance was passed.In the email, the sender identifies himself as an Ergo representative, but says his work is on behalf of a private, anonymous client and that the resulting study will not be released to the public. According to the message, the study would deal with "Seattle's political stakeholders and the dynamics of labor unions in the city." The final report was due to be submitted "relatively soon." Ergo did not respond to requests for comment.
Uber has undertaken a number of initiatives to convince Seattle drivers not to support the newly empowered App Based Drivers Association. In January, Uber customer service representatives began contacting Seattle-based drivers with a new script, which began as a driver satisfaction survey but concluded with a strong anti-union message. "This is simply a case where collective bargaining and unionization do not fit the characteristics of the work," the script read, a turn one former employee characterized as "union-busting."...MORE
There are quite a few dimensions to what is going on here so lets start with the latest....
What Uber Hath Wrought: The Coming Digital Labor MovementThis is not at all what Silicon Valley wants.* 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.
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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: