In a significant vote last December, Seattle City Council unanimously passed legislation that gave all for-hire (Lyft, Uber, taxi and limo) drivers the right to a legally recognized voice on the job. This innovative new law made the city the first in the country to extend the ability to collectively negotiate for better work conditions to drivers currently classified as independent contractors.
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Partnership for Working Families's blog
Late last month, US Labor Secretary Tom Perez travelled to Silicon Valley to hear from the working people and community leaders who are using their ingenuity to tackle the extreme inequality that is now facing the area.
By Nikki Fortunato Bas on 1/18/16 for the Oakland Tribune My Word © 2016 Bay Area News Group
Nationwide – In a historic unanimous vote this afternoon, Seattle became the first city to help ensure safe and reliable transportation by giving all for-hire drivers – including Uber, Lyft and taxi drivers – a right to speak out collectively about workplace concerns.
In advance of Seattle Council’s Monday vote to grant all for-hire drivers a voice on the job, a new report reveals collective bargaining increases safety and reliability in city transportation systems. It also finds that the benefits of giving workers a mechanism to speak out for change go beyond drivers, extending to the entire community.
By Nikki Fortunato Bas
Originally published in The Blog by The Huffington Post on October 19, 2015 as The On-Demand Economy Should Be Challenged By Workers
These are exciting times in the so-called "sharing economy," and not just for Silicon Valley techies and billionaire investors. The moment has finally arrived for the people who actually do the work of moving, sharing and renting their goods through businesses like Uber and AirBnB to get some much-needed attention.
Uber drivers in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas and a number of other cities called for a strike this past weekend to address issues surrounding tips and rates. Earlier last week, Oregon's labor commissioner said in an advisory opinion that under Oregon law, Uber drivers should be seen as employees. This move opens the door for Uber drivers to assert all the rights normally afforded to employees in Oregon, including the right to a minimum wage, safe working conditions, and workers compensation and unemployment benefits. The advisory opinion contrasts sharply with the company's current practice of classifying its workers as independent contractors.
Working together with researchers at the University of Illinois School of Public Health, occupational safety and health experts at the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health and MassCOSH, and environmental justice leaders at GAIA, we dug deep into the world of recycling workers. We found horrifying stories of injuries and fatalities, and troubling statistics about how often recycling workers get hurt on the job. The good news is that there’s plenty of action that cities can take to make recycling jobs good jobs.