The Seattle Globalist asked the Seattle City Council candidates five questions important to immigrant and minority communities in Seattle. This question on additional regulations for ride-sharing services in Seattle is the third in the series of five.
Question: Do you believe there needs to be additional regulation of ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft? Do you believe the drivers working with such services should be allowed to form unions?
The so called “gig economy” is evolving quickly and it is a continuing challenge for governments to keep pace with needed regulations. I believe we should work with all stakeholders at the city, county and state levels to be certain appropriate regulations are in place. I support drivers being allowed to form unions.
Yes, I believe there should be additional regulation of rideshare services to protect drivers as well as consumers. I also support laws that would allow independent contractors to form unions. I wrote a position paper on the issue. Please see here.
Yes. I have been a champion and vocal advocate on these issues. The labor unions helping lead this effort, who are supporting me, know they can count on my support to help re-build the working class by organizing labor. Work is still needed to create the best work environment for drivers and a safe and competitive market for consumers. I will be chair of the committee next year that will examine additional legislation. I was the leader on Council Bill 118036 (passed in March 2014), which improved regulations for taxi drivers, for-hire drivers, and set a framework for transportation network companies. I was vocally supportive of Council Bill 118499 (passed out of Committee on Friday, Oct. 2), which will give drivers a voice to collectively negotiate.
I do believe that Lyft and Uber drivers should be free to form a union if they would like. The ability to organize and collectively bargain is a core workers right permitted in our State that I strongly support. Drivers should not be purely at the whim of the company and should have a recourse to appeal if they feel they were unjustly cut out from being an Uber or Lyft driver. I would consider other regulations as appropriate.
Workers who drive for Uber, Lyft, For Hire, and other taxi companies provide an essential service to meet the transportation needs of Seattleites, particularly given our inadequate public transportation system. The biggest problem facing this industry is the working conditions of the drivers themselves. I have talked to many drivers, particularly drivers who work for Uber, who are finding it extremely difficult to make a living. They have been trying to organize a union to fight for their rights, and I think the city has to support them any way it can. I proudly supported the legislation passed by the City Council this month to provide a framework for collective bargaining, and I will continue to strongly support their efforts. Drivers in ridesharing services drivers must be allowed to form unions. Unions are one of the few tools that working people have under capitalism to challenge discrimination, low pay, and poor working conditions.
Pamela Banks did not submit an answer.
I think that drivers of taxi-cabs, Ubers, Lyfts, and other ridesharing services should be allowed to organize for their rights and collectively bargain. I’m a big fan of the recent legislation introduced by Councilmember O’Brien. Companies like Uber and Lyft are a big part of the recent increase in use of “contract workers,” which is a huge contributor to our race-to-the-bottom economics and a significant reason why we’re seeing such a huge increase in income inequality — especially in Seattle.
I would also like to see (and have proudly signed onto the Working Washington’s Passenger and Driver “Bill of Rights”) that provides protections for both parties in terms of safety, transparency, and wages for workers. I believe that we should have a level playing field between taxis and companies like Uber and Lyft through efforts like a Bill of Rights, allowing drivers to unionize and collectively bargain, and rate regulation from the city to avoid exploitative “surge” charges.
Yes and yes. Uber and Lyft brought innovation into their field, which is great, but they entered the market illegally, and in the process managed to get legislation passed that gave their product an edge over traditional taxi cabs. There must be a level playing field which includes equal safety and insurance requirements, as well as per-mile rates and set periodic reviews of total cab licenses issued.
Specifically with respect to organizing – I am a fan of workers exercising their rights to collectively bargain. If a corporation wants to exploit the “independent contractor” rule, then we must be willing to take action on measures designed to allow workers the right to collaborate and ensure safe work places, fair wages, and basic humane treatment of workers.
Yes. Unions have done tremendous work preserving rights, better working conditions, wages and safety of workers; these rights should be extended to taxicab operators and transportation network drivers. Uber, Lyft and other similar services are both supplanting livable wage taxi jobs and luring workers who hope to achieve a livable wage while soon discovering their investment is being exploited. It is great to see innovation lead to new takes on old industries, but we need to be sure that both workers and consumers get the protections they deserve. I believe that these types of businesses should be required to have insurance so that users (both drivers and riders) are protected when accidents occur. This industry is ripe for organizing and our city can and should make dispatched services subject to collective bargaining agreements. The treatment of drivers in particular, and their status as “contractors,” runs contrary to my beliefs when it comes to the rights that should be expected for workers.
I happen to love using ride-share services, and I am committed to making sure they are able to play an important role in Seattle’s transportation ecosystem. However, we need to make sure that drivers from Uber and Lyft aren’t exposed to undue amounts of personal liability for their work and that they are paid living wages. This is why I will be a champion for legislation allowing these workers to collectively bargain and unionize.
Yes I do. I sponsored the legislation that the council is currently considering and believe it is critically important for the health of the industry that workers/drivers have some say in their work conditions.
40 percent of Seattle residents don’t own smart phones. We are a tourist destination, and based on observation, most tourists prefer to use out of country phones sparingly if at all because of increased service fees. I’m interested in passing regulations, or otherwise making it clear, that these services must providing access to customers without smart phones, which would also provide drivers access to those customers. I believe this may be an ADA requirement because it requires reasonable accommodation for access.
There shouldn’t be barriers to form unions. I’m concerned that the seemingly rideshare specific legislation allowing the formation of a union may have inadvertently excluded some industries that hire a majority of women on a similar contract basis that can be similarly exploited.
Yes. And yes. We voted this out of committee [earlier this month] to provide more stringent regulations on rates and drivers’ working conditions.
Deborah Zech Artis
No. I believe Uber is doing a good job. Drivers and customers appear to be happy with the service and their communications with the Uber company.
Yes, drivers working with ridesharing services deserve the opportunity to engage in collective bargaining with their companies. There may also be a need to tighten regulations further, especially with regard to insurance coverage issues.
Jon Grant did not submit an answer.
Yes, I believe that there needs to be additional regulation of ridesharing services and I certainly believe those drivers should be allowed to collectively bargain for better working conditions. I strongly believe in the right for all workers to organize and the right to collectively bargain must keep up with emerging industries that rely on technology and other innovative platforms.
Bill Bradburd did not submit an answer.
Read more Globalist questions for the Seattle City Council candidates and don’t forget to vote! Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Previous Seattle Globalist coverage
- Should I stop using Uber?
- New Lyft driver sees potential in spite of rideshare caps
- Five countries doing rideshares better than Seattle
- Immigrant drivers switch sides in the taxi vs ride-share debate