Friday, May 12, 2017

Uber Has a Union of Sorts, but Faces Doubts on Its Autonomy

Uber was a pioneer in seamlessly connecting passengers and drivers through an app. Now a union-led group meant to represent its drivers is also taking an unorthodox approach — as well as Uber’s money.
The group, the Independent Drivers Guild, was formed roughly one year ago as part of an agreement for the New York City area between Uber and a regional branch of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Guild officials say the unusual deal was simply the most practical way to improve the lot of drivers, whom the union has a proud history of organizing.
“The drivers need help, and they need help now,” said James Conigliaro Jr., the founder of the guild and a senior Machinists official.
And the guild, which says it represents about 50,000 ride-hail drivers in the New York City area, has produced concrete victories. It took the lead in persuading the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission to propose a rule that would require a tipping option on Uber’s passenger app, potentially increasing drivers’ income by hundreds of million of dollars.
But the group’s relationship with Uber has also inspired considerable suspicion among labor leaders, activists and experts.
“The way Uber operates, it makes me very distrustful,” said Janice Fine, a professor of labor studies at Rutgers University and a former labor organizer, alluding to the company’s sometimes cutthroat posture toward rivals and regulators.
The guild has even attacked Lyft, Uber’s top competitor, using questionable tactics.On May 1, the guild sent an email to members urging them to help create an afternoon work stoppage at Lyft. In the email, Ryan Price, the guild’s executive director, instructed members to order rides on Lyft so they could urge its drivers to join a stoppage. If the driver was “a scab” and refused, the email said, the member should cancel the ride.
Mr. Price, who previously did advocacy and organizing work for a nonprofit group and a union, acknowledged in the email that the tactic violated Lyft’s terms of service, but said the company’s refusal to negotiate with workers justified the action. Besides, he added, “nothing has ever been won without taking a risk.”
Full link of the article is here:
My major question is that should we tip Uber drivers?


  1. I think tipping should be up to the rider's discretion. I would normally say no because the service they offer is what you are paying for and nothing more. But if your driver is engaging, offers drinks/water then yes. Over spring break In Myrtle Beach my friends and I had a driver who had bottled water and such, so in this case I would say yes because this was like additions to the service.

  2. Unfortunately for uber drivers, I do not think that adding a tip option is going to greatly increase their revenue. Due to the fact that we have now created a norm that you don't tip them, people expect to pay a certain price and are not interested in paying more.

  3. I don't see why tipping isn't a thing with Uber. Lyft allows their customers to tip, so how hard would it be for uber to have the option on their app? I guess I don't really understand what Uber's argument against tipping is (?)

  4. I know that Uber has said one of the reasons they don't want to introduce a tipping option is to prevent drivers from only serving customers in more affluent areas. Their argument is that tips from wealthier customers are likely to be significantly larger than those who are not as well off, so drivers would spend more time in wealthier neighbourhoods rather than serving the whole city. But there are so many Uber drivers that I highly doubt there would be a lack of them in less affluent areas. In any case, I think that if this did happen, the need would be filled relatively quickly because people will see the need for it.

  5. I think Shanice brings up an interesting point here. I have been in a handful of ubers who accept tips, although it is against company policy. I also think that during "surge pricing" hours, tipping should not be an option, because the fares can get really high. I think as long as there is not surge pricing, tipping should be an option

  6. I'm prolly in the minority here as someone who's never taken an Uber, but I think tipping in general is an issue in our country. People don't even want to tip waiters and waitresses at restaurants even when they do a really great job & provide excellent service. I honestly don't have any answer for this question though.

  7. Yea. Me neither. I don't have a certain answer either