Skepticism Around Uber Drivers’ “Union”

By on May 15, 2017

May 16, 2017

The Independent Drivers Guild, formed a year ago as part of an agreement between New York City and ride-sharing giant Uber, has made strides for the 50,000-odd drivers it represents. Most notably, it persuaded the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission to propose a rule that required Uber to add tipping options in its app, increasing driver income by hundreds of millions of dollars. But, like the company whose drivers it represents, the Guild has been dogged by questions about its conduct. The Guild led its drivers in an attack on Uber’s business rival, Lyft, orchestrating a day where members called Lyft for rides, and then urged drivers to join a work stoppage. Guild executive director Ryan Price said the move was justified, because Lyft refused to negotiate with workers. The Guild was formed as part of an agreement between Uber and a regional branch of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. The Machinists and Uber reached a deal in 2015 that established regular meetings between some of its members and Uber officials in New York City, the only arrangement of its kind for a ride-sharing app. Labor activists have questioned the Guild’s methods, and its approach of brokering a deal with Uber without first building a more formal organization of drivers.

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The New York Times

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