Tag Archives: Taxi

Seattle is first city in nation to give Uber, other contract drivers ability to unionize


seattle Taxi Vs Uber

seattle Taxi Vs Uber


The Seattle City Council voted unanimously Monday to give taxi, for-hire and Uber drivers the ability to unionize.

Mayor Ed Murray won’t sign the ordinance, but his signature is not needed for the bill to become law, he said.

The National Labor Relations Act gives employees the right to collective bargaining. But drivers for taxi, for-hire and app-dispatch companies like Uber and Lyft are categorized as independent contractors, rather than employees, so those federal protections don’t apply to them.

Seattle is the first city in the U.S. to establish a framework for contract drivers to organize and to bargain for agreements on issues such as pay and working conditions.

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Backers of the groundbreaking bill, including drivers, broke into applause after the vote in the council’s crowded chambers and chanted, “When we fight, we win!”

Takele Gobena, a 26-year-old Uber driver and a leader among those pushing for unionization, called Monday’s vote a victory. He was temporarily kicked off the app in August just a few hours after taking part in a news conference with Councilmember Mike O’Brien, the bill’s sponsor.

“I’m so excited. I’m so happy,” said Gobena, of SeaTac. “This is a big change for us.”

Uber and Lyft opposed the ordinance and argued O’Brien’s proposal violates federal labor and anti-trust laws, meaning the city likely will be sued.

“Uber is creating new opportunities for many people to earn a better living on their own time and their own terms,” the company said in a statement Monday.

Murray sent council members a letter before their vote expressing reservations about the bill. He’s worried about costs related to managing the bargaining process and defending the ordinance in court, he said.

But O’Brien struck a triumphant note.

“This bill was only introduced out of necessity after witnessing how little power drivers themselves had in working for a living wage,” he said, adding, “I am proud Seattle is continuing to lead the nation in advancing labor standards for our workers.”

Under the ordinance, a taxi, for-hire or app-based vehicle-dispatch company will be required to provide the city with a list of its Seattle drivers. Then a nonprofit organization — most likely a union — will use the list to contact the drivers.

The nonprofit organization will need to gain the support of a majority of a company’s drivers to be designated by the city as their bargaining representative.

The ordinance will require the company to hammer out an agreement with the representative organization. The city will enforce the ordinance’s requirements through penalties such as fines but not by revoking a company’s license to operate.

The backdrop for the council’s vote is a nationwide conversation about what role governments should play in the country’s growing app-powered gig economy.

Companies like Uber and Lyft for rides, TaskRabbit for odd jobs and GrubHub for food delivery are attracting workers by offering more flexibility than conventional jobs.

But labor activists and others are worried about apps making it easier for companies to contract with independent workers and avoid paying minimum wages and benefits.

Drivers from several cities, including Seattle, are suing Uber for categorizing them as independent contractors, and politicians in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere are talking about whether a new benefits system or new worker category might be needed.

The lawsuits will focus on whether Uber controls drivers by setting fares and deciding who can work or whether drivers are in charge by setting their own schedules.

O’Brien’s proposal grew out of organizing by taxi, Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle and from advocacy by Teamsters Local 117. Some drivers backing the bill have said that, after expenses, they make far less than the city’s minimum wage driving for Uber and Lyft. Other drivers have said they like the way the industry operates now.

Uber ramped up its engagement in Seattle before Monday’ vote. David Plouffe, a former political strategist for President Obama now serving as Uber’s chief adviser, visited Seattle earlier this month to promote the company and criticize the ordinance.

The company recently chose the city for its launch of devices on some vehicle windshields that light up to help drivers connect with waiting riders. Last week, it began offering a new service in Seattle called UberHop; vehicles pick up riders at set spots along set routes. The company has been advertising heavily in local media, as well.

The council’s finance committee approved the ordinance in October but O’Brien’s delayed the final vote so lawyers for the city could work to make it more legally sound.

Uber has sued King County and Seattle law firm Keller Rohrback in an attempt to block the county from releasing, under a public-records request by the firm, the number of licensed drivers the company has here. In an interview during his visit to the city, Plouffe told The Seattle Times that Uber has more than 10,000 drivers in the city.

Dan Clark, 64, a part-time Uber driver from Auburn, is against O’Brien ordinance because “it just seems wrong to have a union come in and dictate everything,” he said.

Uber and Lyft could raise fares in Seattle. But Gobena, who said he drives 55 hours a week in addition to attending college, said he believes passengers are on his side.

“The riders, they see how much we’re paid … They feel so bad,” the pro-union driver said. “We are just asking Uber to pay us a living wage. Seattleites want that.”

Daniel Beekman: 206-464-2164 or dbeekman@seattletimes.com. Twitter @DBeekman

New York taxi owners are suing the city for letting Uber destroy their business


taxi_vs_uber

taxi_vs_uber


New York City taxi owners and credit unions are suing the city and its Taxi and Limousine Commission for letting Uber expand despite the harm it has caused their business. The lawsuit, filed today in Manhattan federal court, accuses city regulators of easing the pathway for ride-hailing services to operate with fewer burdens, according to a report today from Reuters. The lawsuit could represent one of the last dying gasps of the country’s largest taxi industry, which has moved on from its losing fight against Uber in hopes of extracting damages from the city itself.

The complaint states that medallion prices, which help artificially restrict the supply of city cabs, have fallen 40 percent from an all-time high of more than $1 million between April and June of this year. Meanwhile, the number of cab pickups fell by 3.83 million. Uber rides in Manhattan increased by 3.82 million in the same time period, the complaint says. The complaint also cites Uber as a primary contributor to the July bankruptcy filing of 22 taxi cab companies run by mogul Evgeny Freidman and the state’s seizing of a credit union that specializes in medallion loans back in September.
TAXI MEDALLION PRICES HAVE FALLEN 40 PERCENT
The plaintiffs include the Melrose, Progressive and Lomto Federal credit unions, which have loaned upwards of $2.4 billion for more than 4,600 taxi medallions; individual medallion holders; and the Taxi Medallion Owner Driver Association and League of Mutual Taxi Owners, both of which collectively represent more than 4,000 medallion holders.

“Defendants’ deliberate evisceration of medallion taxicab hail exclusivity, and their ongoing arbitrary, disparate regulatory treatment of the medallion taxicab industry, has and continues to inflict catastrophic harm on this once iconic industry and the tens of thousands of hardworking men and women that depend on it for their livelihood,” the complaint reads. Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Americas Got Talent

america got talent in Austin

america got talent in Austin

Friday

Nov 13, 2015 – 8:00 PM

“America’s Got Talent,” NBC’s top-rated summer series from producer Simon Cowell’s Syco Television and FremantleMedia North America, celebrates its landmark 10th season with the hottest performers from across the country competing for America’s vote.

With the talent search open to acts of all ages, “America’s Got Talent” has brought the variety format back to the forefront of American culture by showcasing unique performers from across the country. The series is a true celebration of the American spirit, featuring a colorful array of singers, dancers, comedians, contortionists, impressionists, jugglers, magicians, ventriloquists and hopeful stars, all vying for their chance to win America’s hearts and the $1 million.

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Why We Don’t Wear Seat Belts in Cabs (Even Though We Know Better)

Buckle up, Be safe

Buckle up, Be safe

Please Buckle up when you ride TAXI IN AUSTIN :

Buckling up is the easiest way to stay safe in a car. So why is it so easy to “forget” to do it in a cab? (Photo: Alamy)

Some risks are so obvious, just thinking about them sounds alarm bells: Driving in a blizzard or smoking cigarettes are just a couple that immediately come to mind.

But while there are the obvious risky situations, there are others that even the most diligent among us walk right into.

Say you’re about to head out on a work trip, so you call a cab to the airport. You get in the car and don’t bother buckling up. Maybe you take a little snooze before getting dropped off at your terminal. “By the time you arrive in the cab at the airport, the most injurious part of your journey is over,” Andreas Wilke, PhD, an associate professor at Clarkson University, tells Yahoo Health. After all, driving is far more dangerous than flying — especially if you didn’t bother to put on the seat belt. The thing is: We just don’t see it that way.

We’ve all been there: We skip the seat belt in a cab, text when we’re stopped at the red light, lay out by the pool without sunscreen, and get behind the wheel even though we’re totally sleep-deprived. To figure out why we do these, well, stupid things, we first must understand how we come to make decisions in the first place.

There are two different modes for thinking our way through decisions: Through experience (running away when something is scary, or lashing out when you’re angry), and through deliberation (knowing that UV rays cause skin cancer, so making the logical decision to avoid the rays).

“The deliberative mode is based more on numbers,” Ellen Peters, PhD, a psychology professor and director of the Decision Sciences Collaborative at The Ohio State University, tells Yahoo Health. The problem: Numbers don’t always carry much meaning, particularly to people who aren’t naturally mathematically inclined. And that’s when the first mode — decision-making based on experiences — takes over.

Here’s an example: Wearing a seat belt is the No. 1 way to protect yourself in a motor vehicle accident; doing so saved an estimated 75,000 lives between 2004 and 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “And while we might have some idea about this, we also might think, ‘Well, I didn’t wear one last time and it was OK,’” she says. “In this case, our experience is working against us.”

The same goes for texting and driving — we all know it’s super dangerous to type away behind the wheel, but we also may have shot off a few texts earlier at that red light and lived to tell the tale.

What throws our perceptions of risk out of whack?

We Misunderstand the Real Risk

We tend to perceive risk based on how someone has described it to us — and not because we have actually experienced it, explains Ann Bostrom, PhD, a researcher at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance who studies risk perception and communication.

Take someone who’s afraid of flying, after watching all the recent news coverage of planes that have crashed or disappeared. The reality is, plane crashes are rare: There were 73 commercial airline accidents, 12 of which were fatal, in 2014 — or about one accident for every 4.4 million flights, according to the International Air Travel Association. To compare: In 2013 alone, there were 30,057 fatal motor vehicle crashes.

But plane crashes tend to be described in horrific ways, and “that evokes a feeling that sticks with us and could make us very precautious,” Bostrom tells Yahoo Health.

Of course, familiarity is also a factor in how we make decisions, adds Wilke. Frequent flyers might not be as nervous about being in the air — and might even be more likely to fly than drive. The opposite can also be true: Someone who never flies may be more nervous and thus stick to the roads. Also, if you’ve lost someone close to you in a plane crash or a car crash, you may be more likely to avoid that mode of transportation.

We Think We’re in Control (Even When We’re Not)

Experience and information about risks aren’t the only factors at play in decision-making, though. Feeling in control or out of control can also alter the way you take risks, says Bostrom.

Back to the seat belt example: You may think that because taxi drivers are professionals at what they do, you’re safer when riding in a cab than when you’re driving yourself or are a passenger to a friend or family member. You’re in a controlled environment. Therefore, you may be more likely to skip the seat belt when riding in a cab.