Uber drivers meet with Teamsters to form new association

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on May 18, 2014 at 4:21 PM

Updated Sunday, May 18 at 10:09 PM

TUKWILA -- Uber and Uber-X drivers on Sunday moved forward with plans to form their own association.

Dozens of drivers met at the Teamster's Local 117 headquarters in Tukwila. The Teamsters are helping the group form their own association to deal with labor issues and safety concerns.

The drivers were joined by members of the Western Washington Taxi Cab Operators Association.

Drivers voted to approve by-laws, and elected a 7-member leadership council that will run the day-to-day operations of the organization.

“We congratulate the drivers on taking this courageous step,” said Tracey A. Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “We intend to use our expertise in representing workers to ensure that the drivers are treated fairly and their concerns are heard.”

The decision to form the association was made after a political forum last month, where concerns including the company's rating system and liability coverage were raised.

Uber issued a statement Sunday, saying "Uber is a technology platform and we partner with thousands of small businesses in the Seattle area. While Uber's top priority is safety, the Teamsters Local 117’s  top priority is protecting taxi license owners.  Uber partners on average make over $15/hour, more than the average taxi driver, and partners are not confined to high lease fees or restrictive schedules.

We encourage partner driver feedback through multiple channels; weekly coffees that all partners are invited to attend, email and text message support 7 days per week, open office hours throughout the week, and an anonymous feedback form. A partner that is a safe driver, with a consistently clean criminal and driving record, who provides good customer service and keeps their small business in order is at no risk of Uber's partnership ending."

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