Dozens of Uber drivers and drivers from other transportation network companies (TNCs) traveled to Olympia today to express their concerns about proposed policies that would limit their voice at work. Drivers also met with legislators to discuss issues such as public safety, driver safety, insurance regulations, working conditions, and low pay.
“Driving for Uber has become a path to poverty,” said Tracey Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “You know something is wrong when you have a company that is valued at $40 billion and its drivers can’t afford to pay the rent or put food on the table for their families.”
Uber recently cut drivers’ pay overnight by 15%. Uber drivers say they are now earning less than half of what they earned two years ago.
“We need fair treatment, dignity, and a voice at work. That’s why we’re here today – to stop policies that would take away our voice,” said Hussein Farah, who has driven for Uber for over a year.
In particular, drivers spoke out against a bill that would allow TNCs like Uber to pre-empt local laws and regulations governing the personal transportation industry.
Senate Bill 5550 would prevent cities and counties from regulating TNC dispatch companies and cede that power to the state. Local jurisdictions like the City of Seattle, King County, or the Port of Seattle would lose the power to pass laws that govern public safety, driver safety, insurance requirements, background checks, training, and working conditions for drivers. Drivers say SB 5550 puts a roadblock between them and their local elected officials and limits their ability to influence their wages and working conditions.
Representatives from the City of Seattle, King County, and the Port of Seattle have also expressed concerns about the bill.