Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien speaking at an October event in support of his bill to allow Uber and Lyft drivers to unionize.
In a first-of-its-kind law, the Seattle City Council voted 8-0 to allow drivers for ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft to bargain collectively.
“The intent of this legislation is to create an environment where innovation can continue to happen, but not at the expense of the workers,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien, who spearheaded the proposal. “I firmly believe that this legislation is a great step in that direction.”
“Uber does not share and does not care,” said Councilmember Kshama Sawant. Uber drivers who take out loans to buy cars have become “trapped by debt,” she added. “Uber drivers can be ‘deactivated,’ which is a fancy word for being fired,” without cause.
The proposal, which also applies to taxis and other traditional for-hire vehicles, was passed out of committee in October. It has been opposed by both Uber and Lyft, who are expected to sue to try to overturn it. Councilmember Tom Rasmussen urged his colleagues not to be dissuaded by that. “That’s the price of innovating,” he said.
Following the vote, a large crowd of the bill’s supporters that had come to the council…