Uber called its recent union deal ‘historic.’ A new complaint alleges it was actually against the law, and a separate lawsuit claims it’s a violation of federal antitrust laws.
The case involves Uber’s decision in September to join a new union in Washington, DC, to represent drivers and other business partners working in its operations, and to also join existing trade unions in San Francisco and Seattle. Uber and the unions signed the agreement through their shared employment lawyers at Sidley Austin LLP. Under the new union structure, it would appear, Uber’s business and union partners continue to have a shared goal of protecting workers’ rights.
But it was an historic decision. For Uber, which is currently in a dispute with the city of San Francisco over driverless cars and self-driving technology, and is already in negotiation with the state of Washington over a new law allowing those cars to start working without their drivers, this union deal represents a direct threat to the company’s bottom line.
Uber’s union allies, who are already battling Uber’s California rivals Googler and Lyft (both have unionized drivers), argue that Uber’s new deal is actually a violation of the company’s federal labor laws.
The new union’s complaint in Seattle, which was filed by the Service Employees International Union, claims Uber violated the National Labor Relations Act through its agreement with the UAW’s Local 1568. (This Local 1568 represents almost 40,000 Seattle-area Uber drivers, and their Local 1242 is in charge of representing the company’s more than 1,000 employees.)
And in its new lawsuit in Washington, Uber says the union is violating its trade-union rights under the federal Antitrust Act.
Uber spokesperson in Seattle, Kayvon Beykpour, reiterated the company’s position at a press conference on Thursday, when Uber first announced the agreement with the union. “The bottom line is we are bound by the law and the facts. The deal the UAW