Tag Archives: Driver

U.S. court revives challenge to Seattle's Uber, Lyft driver union law
May 11, 2018 6:02 pm|Comments (0)

(Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court on Friday revived a business group’s challenge to a Seattle law, the first of its kind, that would allow drivers for ride-hailing services such as Uber Technologies Inc UBER.UL and Lyft to unionise.

A driver displays Uber and Lyft ride sharing signs in his car windscreen in Santa Monica, California, U.S., May 23, 2016. This logo has been updated and is no longer in use. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the city did not have the power to regulate payment arrangements between companies like Uber and Lyft and their drivers.

The litigation is unfolding amid a national debate over whether workers in the “gig economy” are independent contractors, who typically cannot form unions, or employees.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which sued over the law last year and counts Uber and Lyft among its members, did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did a spokesman for the Seattle city attorney’s office.

Seattle’s law, passed in 2015, requires the city to select a union as the exclusive bargaining representative of the estimated 9,000 drivers in Seattle who work for Uber, Lyft and other services. The law was put on hold pending the outcome of the Chamber’s lawsuit.

The Chamber argued that by allowing drivers to bargain over their pay, which is based on fares received from passengers, the city would permit them to essentially fix prices in violation of federal antitrust law.

A federal judge in Seattle last year disagreed, saying the state of Washington had specifically authorized its cities to regulate the for-hire transportation industry.

But the 9th Circuit on Friday said state law allows the city to regulate rates that companies charge to passengers, but not the fees that drivers pay to companies like Uber or Lyft in exchange for ride referrals.

The court sent the case back to the judge in Seattle to reconsider the Chamber’s antitrust claim.

The city and supporters of the law, including labor unions, have said that allowing drivers to unionize would improve their working conditions, making ride-sharing services safer for passengers.

Lawyers for the city had told the 9th Circuit that in some cases, drivers were engaging in unsafe behavior such as driving on little or no sleep because they are not paid adequately.

Uber is appealing a state’s judge dismissal of a separate lawsuit the company filed challenging Seattle’s law. A third lawsuit by Uber drivers was dismissed last year.

The case is U.S. Chamber of Commerce v. City of Seattle, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 17-35640.

Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in Albany, New York; Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and Phil Berlowitz

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UberEATS Driver Fatally Shoots Customer in Atlanta, Police Say
February 19, 2018 6:18 pm|Comments (0)

Atlanta police say a driver for UberEATS, the ride-hailing company’s food delivery service, shot and killed a customer in the city’s posh Buckhead neighborhood late Saturday night.

The victim was identified by a local NBC affiliate as 30-year-old Ryan Thornton, a recent Morehouse College graduate. According to NBC’s report, Thornton and the UberEATS driver exchanged words after the delivery was made. The driver then allegedly shot Thornton several times and fled in a white Volkswagen vehicle.

Thornton was taken to a local hospital, where he later died from his wounds. The alleged shooter was still on the run from police early this morning.

An Uber spokesperson said the company was “shocked and saddened” by the event, and are cooperating with Atlanta police in the investigation.

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One Buckhead resident told the television station that he would be more cautious about using Uber services after the shooting. Uber drivers have been implicated in violence in the past, and the company’s approach to screening its drivers has been criticized for some of its legal and public relations problems.

The most damaging case was likely that of an Indian passenger who was raped by an Uber driver in 2014. In court documents, the passenger alleged that Uber executives wrongfully obtained her medical records with apparent plans to discredit her. The driver was sentenced to life in prison, and Uber settled the civil suit brought by the victim late last year.

Last November, two women filed a class-action lawsuit against the company in the U.S., alleging that its failure to screen drivers has led to thousands of incidents of sexual harassment and even rape of female passengers. In one example, an Uber driver was arrested for the rape of a passenger last December, also in Atlanta. Just days later, an Uber driver in Lebanon confessed to murdering a British Embassy staffer there.

Under former CEO Travis Kalanick, Uber fought hard against certain driver-screening rules. In one case, Uber shut down its operations in Austin, Texas in 2016 after spending millions of dollars to defeat a background-check rule there, and failing. It returned to the city after state legislators overturned the local ordinance. Safety concerns were also among the reasons London has barred Uber from operating there.

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