Uber-drivers are looking for fairness and a stronger voice with the app-company. That’s why this set up the California App-Based Drivers’ Association (CADA) which recently met in El Monte, California, to formalize its affiliation with Teamsters Local 986. CADA was established earlier this year in an effort to unite drivers who operate under smartphone-based ridesharing applications, including Uber. Uber already stated privately that it does not, and will not recognize any association that seeks to speak on behalf of drivers.
Uber drivers have long expressed frustration in what they perceive as unsafe, deceptive, and unfair business practices mandated by Uber. “The company’s manifest indifference to the plight of its drivers, coupled with a series of misleading attacks on legislation aimed at protecting driver, consumer, and public safety ultimately led drivers to form CADA,” said CADA leadership council member Lotfi Ben Yeder.
“We look forward to working with CADA to help the drivers win fairness in the workplace and help them get recognized for the work they do making Uber and other app-based companies successful,” said Chris Griswold, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 986 in South El Monte. “These app-based companies need to start treating their professional drivers with the respect and dignity that they deserve.”
After Uber management flatly refused to sit with members of CADA’s steering committee, and privately stated that it does not, and will not recognize any association that seeks to speak on behalf of drivers, CADA reached out to Teamsters Local 986 for organizational and lobbying assistance.
At the meeting, CADA members expressed concerns about driver safety, and arbitrary and punitive treatment by Uber. Included in the list of concerns are drivers’ inability to protect themselves from sexual harassment and abusive treatment from customers due to a non-transparent and biased rating system.
One female driver recounted how a client sexually harassed her and created a hostile environment during a ride, but she feared abruptly ending the ride because a negative client rating could lead to her deactivation from the Uber platform. After the ride was completed, she complained to Uber about the sexual harassment, with no meaningful response.
Other CADA members expressed concern that Uber lulled them into investing in late model Lincoln Town Cars earlier this year, and then after a few months, notified the drivers that those same Town Cars would be degraded to the economy platform, where the fuel-to-fare ratio makes it impossible for the drivers to earn a living wage.
Some UberX drivers voiced their frustration that Uber leads its customers to believe that the tip is included in the fare, when in fact, it is not. One driver recounted how on a recent $4 fare, Uber kept $1.60, gas was 80 cents, a bottle of ‘complementary’ water was 45 cents, and the cost of commercial insurance for the ride amounted to 40 cents, leaving him with a take home of 75 cents for the trip and no tip, because it is ‘supposedly’ included.
• Uber-drivers seek union help from Teamsters.