Drivers with the online transportation and ride-sharing company Uber are joining together with the Teamsters Union in an effort to obtain better benefits. The goals of the drivers and the Teamsters Union are primarily to re-classify Uber drivers as employees of Uber. Currently, drivers with Uber are classified as independent contractors and must supply their own insurance and retirement plans. However, the efforts of the Teamsters Union as well as the Uber drivers themselves may soon change that.
Efforts on the West Coast
In California, the joint forces of the Teamsters Union and Uber drivers have created the App-Based Drivers Association (ABDA). The organization will collectively bargain for better wages, benefits, and to reclassify Uber, Lyft, and other app-based ride-share drivers as “employees” and not “independent contractors”.This will be especially beneficial to California Uber drivers, since the company’s home turf is in San Francisco. It is the hope of ABDA to inspire similar efforts in other states. Uber maintains that unionization doesn’t make sense for ride-share services because most of their drivers only work part-time. The company recently started a campaign to convince drivers to resist unionization.
Teamsters International Vice President Rome Aloise stated recently, “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.” ABDA will have a long fight ahead of itself, however, as Uber and Lyft are already fighting a law that would allow contractors- including Uber and Lyft drivers- to organize in unions in Seattle.