Seattle Plans to Impose Collective Bargaining Rules on Ride-Share Drivers Threaten Privacy, Flexibility, and Voting Representation

The Competitive Enterprise Institute today filed comments with the Seattle Department of Finance and Administrative Services opposing provisions of a proposed collective bargaining rule that disadvantages ride-share drivers. CEI recommends that the rule be withdrawn for further consideration or else modified to: allow all drivers the opportunity to vote in a union election, narrow the scope of the rule, and allow drivers to choose whether they want their personal information shared with a union.

“Seattle regulators should reconsider plans to impose new, unfair collective bargaining rules on people who drive for companies like Uber and Lyft,” said Trey Kovacs, a CEI policy analyst specializing in labor policy. “The new rules would force drivers to pay fees to a union they have no say in selecting and put drivers’ privacy at risk. These rules jeopardize the flexibility, freedom, and extra income that drivers want and need.”

In the comments, CEI experts Trey Kovacs and Iain Murray identify three points of concern with the proposed rule:

  • The union election process will deny a significant amount of ride-share drivers the right to vote on union representation if they haven’t completed an arbitrary number rides prior to implementation of the ordinance. “No worker should have to pay to a union he or she does not support, especially those workers who were not afforded the right to vote on union representation,” CEI’s comments explain.
  • Imposing a union membership and collective bargaining agreement on drivers will limit the flexibility and independence of drivers, a primary reason why many individuals decide to drive for ridesharing companies.
  • The city ordinance puts ride-share drivers’ private information at risk by compelling companies to hand over drivers’ personal information—names, home and email addresses, and phone numbers—to any union representative who requests it while seeking to organize drivers. That increases the risk of harassment, intimidation, and identity theft to drivers.

View the CEI comments to the Seattle City Council