The following is an excerpt from COLE STANGLER | December 14, 2015 | ibtimes.com |
Update, Dec. 14, 6:30 pm EST: Seattle has become the first city to allow Uber and Lyft drivers to bargain collectively.
Original story: Drivers for Uber and Lyft in Seattle could soon become the first in the nation with the right to form unions. On Monday, the city council is expected to vote on an unprecedented proposal that would extend collective bargaining rights to drivers for traditional cab companies and ride-hailing apps alike.
The proposed plan marks a bold -- and controversial -- attempt to bring labor protections to workers in the so-called on-demand economy.
“From what I can tell, it’s never been tried before,” the bill’s author, Councilman Mike O’Brien, told International Business Times in October. “It’s a piece of innovation in an innovative industry.”
Drivers for Uber and Lyft are currently classified as independent contractors rather than employees. As such, they lack basic employment protections, such as the right to minimum wage and overtime pay. Contractors are not eligible to be reimbursed for job-related expenses. And they remain exempt from federal labor laws that guarantee the right to form unions and collectively bargain with employers.
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