On Tuesday, Uber announced an agreement with a prominent union to create a guild for 35,000 drivers in New York. The guild will give them some benefits from offering their driving services through the app. Even though the group will actually have less power than a full-fledged union.
The drivers will be represented by the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG), with a five-year-contract, according to an statement made by the organization. The IDG is an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists District 15.
The agreement among the drivers and executives from Uber is designed to improve communications between the company and the drivers. It will also usher benefits without jeopardizing the independence and flexibility of the workers. And it will be an additional voice in the deactivation appeals process that some drivers go through, Uber stated in a press release.
“Today’s agreement is part of an ongoing effort by Uber to work more closely with drivers who use our app,” said David Plouffe, Uber’s board member. “That’s primarily about better communications, including listening to feedback more carefully,” he added during a company statement announcing the new organization.
As for the benefits of the organization, measures are being taken to increase protection among Uber’s drivers. These can include regular meetings between Uber and the management team in the city, the ability for individual drivers to appeal if the company denies them access to the app, and discounted legal services.
Uber recognizes guild for New York City drivers: NEW YORK (AP) — Uber has reached an agreement to create an … https://t.co/awUXwkwP6B
— Fox5NY (@fox5ny) May 10, 2016
In addition, workers will receive life and disability insurance, education courses, roadside assistance if needed and access to an online worker center. The latter will provide a central hub for driver’s assistance and resources intake.
A new ally for the ride-hailing company giant
With the deal recently made between the workers and the executives, Uber won an ally in its efforts to change the New York State law. The new ally levies a nearly 9 percent tax on black-car-rides but that does not apply to taxis, as reported by the New York Times.
Uber claims the law unfairly singles out parts of its service. With the terms of the new deal with the IDG, the machinist union will help the San-Francisco-based company lobby the State Legislature to treat all hired drivers equally.