A new bill that guarantees benefits for taxi drivers but classifies them as independent contractors has finally passed the Washington State House of Representatives. He, in turn, is supported even by such industry giants as Uber and Lyft, along with the local union represented by Teamsters. And in its essence, this bill is a compromise between all the parties involved in this area. Drivers are guaranteed benefits under the law, including paid sick leave, a minimum wage, and a resource center for drivers who wish to appeal their deactivation.
And this is especially important given that drivers are still classified as workers. Meanwhile, under this legislation, companies cannot set work schedules for their employees in accordance with the law, and cities do not have the right to regulate the work of companies providing taxi services. According to LaborNotes, the bill still managed to elicit a highly controversial response from drivers, some of whom argue the benefits may not be enough. Uber, Lyft, as well as other similar companies, have long struggled with attempts to force them to classify their employees as employees, even spending hundreds of millions of dollars to ensure that this is the case.
In California, companies have spent more than $200 million campaigning for Proposition 22, a vote to repeal a local law that made drivers full employees. The companies won, and the proposal passed by a decently large margin. Either way, Peter Kuehl, president of the Teamsters driver union, recently made the following statement to Bloomberg: “Thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers — mostly immigrants and people of color — will benefit from this long overdue increase in wages, benefits and protections across the states.”
However, LaborNotes also reports that the drivers’ union backed the bill largely because the companies threatened to hold a vote if they didn’t reach a compromise in Washington. Don Creary, board member of the Drivers’ Union, told the same publication: “They also hold a gun to our heads with the possibility of initiative. They spent $200 million on California. It all boils down to the fact that we don’t have the money to buy TV ads.” Anyway, right now this bill is going to the State Senate, which will hold a public hearing on it today.