FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 22, 2016
Contact: Jamie Way, (303) 960-8272, Jamie@ForWorkingFamilies.org
Dianna Zamora Marroquin, (408) 606-2060, Dianna@SouthBayLabor.org
Nationwide – Yesterday, Uber and drivers came to a settlement regarding a class-action lawsuit in California and Massachusetts. While the $100M settlement left a number of issues unresolved, among the changes outlined the agreement commits Uber to recognize a drivers’ association. Today, Teamsters Joint Council 7 announced plans to support drivers, who want to launch and organize the association. Silicon Valley Rising will partner in the effort.
“This is a watershed moment for Uber drivers,” said Derecka Mehrens, Executive Director of Working Partnerships USA, which cofounded Silicon Valley Rising. “Through a drivers’ association, they will have a means of coming together to address issues they have at work. That will fundamentally transform drivers’ experience.”
The settlement, if approved, provides for Uber to support drivers’ associations in California and Massachusetts. Teamsters, in partnership with Silicon Valley Rising, will launch an effort to back drivers in light of this framework.
“Uber’s recognition of a drivers’ association is a step toward creating a fair and safe work environment for the company’s drivers,” said Ben Field, Executive Officer of the South Bay Labor Council. “Because of the work done by Teamsters and Silicon Valley Rising, Uber drivers who have long fought for better workplace protections but have often been ignored, will now have access to the resources and support they need to address issues of concern at work.”
Despite being classified as independent contractors by the company, Uber drivers around the country are self-organizing. The Teamsters hope to throw their institutional resources and power behind those driver efforts. The drivers’ association will give drivers a path toward disputing issues, hours and safety requirements, benefits, legal assistance, and training normally afforded to traditional union members.
“As a transportation union, the Teamsters have a long history of dealing with drivers who are classified as independent contractors,” said Rome Aloise, Vice-President of the Teamsters and President of Joint Council 7. “Whether it’s a voice at work, better benefits, or advocacy, this association will raise standards for Uber drivers.”
Silicon Valley Rising has successfully engaged the tech industry around the issue of precarious work and won substantive gains for working people. As a result of the coalition’s efforts, Apple and Google ended their contracts with a low-road security firm and raised job standards for the security officers, while shuttle bus drivers serving companies including Apple, Google, eBay, PayPal and Yahoo have gained union representation. Extending those gains to the on-demand economy is the next step in addressing precarious work in tech.
Silicon Valley Rising and the Teamsters will be releasing more details regarding the association in the coming week.
Silicon Valley Rising is a coordinated campaign driven by an unprecedented coalition of labor, faith leaders, community based organizations and workers aiming to inspire the tech industry to build an inclusive middle class in Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley Rising was cofounded by the South Bay AFL-CIO and Working Partnerships USA.
The South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council represents ninety-seven unions and 100,000 union members in Santa Clara and San Benito counties. The Labor Council’s primary goal is to advance candidates, causes, and policies that benefit working families.
Working Partnerships USA, a national Partnership for Working Families affiliate, is a community organization that drives the movement for a just economy by bringing together public policy innovation and the power of grassroots organizing.