‘‘Seattle City Council member Mike O’Brien says he has a plan to strengthen the collective bargaining power of drivers who work for companies like Uber, Sidecar and Lyft. His effort comes amid a growing complaints nationwide about ride-hailing services’ paltry wages. But to succeed, he’ll have to take on national labor laws that do not traditionally grant collective bargaining rights to contractors.
O’Brien made his announcement Monday at City Hall, flanked by a cast of drivers, many of whom quit low-paying jobs to drive for Uber. He told the story of a man left behind a minimum wage job, only to find himself earning even less as a driver. “It was not a story of increased income and opportunity, but the opposite” said O’Brien. “After filing his tax return, he found he was making around $3 an hour.”
One after another, the drivers told stories of making far less than they’d expected, thanks mostly to the costs of purchasing a car, maintenance, insurance and taxes. “The owners of the company have taken advantage of the drivers,” said one driver named Faseel. “It’s not fair.””