SEATTLE - Hundreds of former and current Uber Seattle Drivers filled up a room at the Yesler Community Center. They weren't present to take jabs at a city council, who recently voted for more restrictions on ride share companies, but they claim what's hurting them is Uber.
"We've invested tens of thousands of dollars in this business, we're not just drivers," said Yedidta Seifu, a former Uber driver. "According to Uber, we're partners but they treat us a little better than slaves."
Seifu and others claim Uber deactivated them as drivers without an explanation. If there is one like a bad rating, they claim Uber doesn't allow driver input. They're now seeking help from Teamsters Local 117 for representation.
In the midst of Sunday's heated rally, a campaign is in full swing on sites like Facebook and Twitter, as a coalition involving ride share companies like Uber gathers signatures to try and overturn the city ordinance that puts a cap on the number of drivers and other restrictions. It's a move these drivers say are just out to help Uber, not the drivers putting in the miles.
As for the coalition, Keep Seattle's Ride Options, the deadline is Thursday to gather more than 16,000 signatures to refer the city ordinance to a city-wide vote. Organizers anticipate they will have well beyond that number of signatures.
Uber released a statement Sunday, saying:
"Uber's best-in-class service requires that we deactivate drivers who provide poor customer service, pose a risk to rider safety or violate our terms of service and commitment to customers. We no longer partner with Mr. Anderson because the contents of his background/driving record check. Safety for both riders and drivers is our top priority and we are committed to bringing the highest level of service to Seattle.
"We are also very proud to have hundreds and hundreds of partners who support us. Uber offers flexibility, safety and a level of opportunity to partners that is unmatched in this city."