Uber drivers who feel they have been snubbed by the popular app-based ridesharing company have received help from teamsters who held a demonstration for them on Tuesday morning to help them ebb closer to organizing an association which would represent their interests as well as that of drivers who work for other ridesharing companies such as Lyft and Sidcar.
The demonstration reportedly took place at 11 a.m. in front of Uber offices in Santa Monica, California, according to Southern California Public Radio. Teamsters Local 986 is helping Uber drivers with the demo, which was expected to see 500 of them. A spokesman for the drivers who are trying to organize, Joseph DeWolf says “Right now, there’s probably interest of up to a thousand drivers.”
Since they are independent contractors, Uber drivers are not allowed to form a union, which is why they are trying to form an association. DeWolf told SCPR that while Uber calls its drivers “partners,” mounting complaints “from almost all accounts” suggest that “[Uber is] not a very good partner.”
Things such as bad communication and an unfair system by which drivers get rated by their passengers were cited by DeWolf in addition to a “recent mandate from Uber requiring all Uber Black drivers with cars older than 2010 to switch over to UberX within two weeks (they later switched it to four), where they will make less money,” notes SCPR.
The protest reportedly drew attention to Assembly Bill 612, which would require drivers to submit fingerprints for background checks with the California Department of Justice, according to CBS Los Angeles. AB 612 is sponsored by Sherman Oaks Representative Adrin Nazarin.
Earlier this month, an Uber driver was arrested for allegedly kidnapping a drunk female passenger in West Hollywood, who was so inebriated that she could not tell him her home address.
Last month, Seattle-based drivers with Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar congregated to formally create a app-based Driver’s Association.