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Uber Makes Seattle Drivers Watch Anti-Union Podcasts

March 17, 2017 
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel

Seattle, WA - When Uber drivers here log onto the company’s system, there is now one more thing they have to do before they can start picking up fares: Listen to an anti-union podcast.

A 2015 city law established a right to collective bargaining for Uber and Lyft drivers, who the company defines as independent contractors, and Teamsters Local 117 began a formal campaign to organize them March 3. To pre-empt the union, Uber developed 18 podcasts in which Brooke Steger, its Pacific Northwest general manager, calls the union “very, very scary,” “super scary,” and “really, really scary.” She also argues that a union contract would jeopardize drivers’ “flexibility” and that they wouldn’t be able to vote on it. Nonsense, responds Dawn Gearhart of the Seattle Teamsters. “Drivers get to vote on the agreement before it goes into effect.” The union has 120 days to get support from eligible drivers. Uber, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Right to Work Committee are also suing to have the collective-bargaining law struck down. Read more

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