Drivers Union WA, Affiliated with Teamsters 117

Tukwila, WA

This is the 2022 fellowship description for this mentor organization.

The Drivers Union is a worker organization that is the leading voice for fairness, justice, and transparency for Washington’s Uber and Lyft drivers. We provide legal protections against unlawful deactivations, outreach support and education to drivers regarding their rights under several labor laws including the Seattle Deactivation Rights Ordinance. We raise standards, such as having the highest per mile and per minute pay for Uber and Lyft drivers in the nation. We build unity by providing an organization where drivers voices can be collectively, and loudly, heard to ensure that every driver can share in the prosperity. We represent a diverse group of Uber and Lyft drivers, of which there are over 30,000 in Washington state, who are disproportionately low income and predominately from immigrant and refugee communities. Our team is inclusive of previous drivers and our staff speaks over a dozen languages including; Amharic, Arabic, Hausa, Hindi, Kiswahili, Nuer, Oromo, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Spanish, and Tchamba, in an effort to provide primary lanaguge support to for all drivers.

The Drivers Union, who is affiliated with the Teamsters Local 117, was borne out of a decade long struggle of Uber and Lyft drivers fighting for fair pay and treatment from Uber and Lyft. This fight culminated in several victories over the years including, the passage of Seattle’s Fare Pay law, which created a new minimum compensation standard for the drivers; the passage of the Gig Worker Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance which is needed to keep drivers and riders safe during the pandemic. And finally, the passage of the Seattle Deactivation Rights Ordinance (DRO), which provides drivers the first in the nation protections against unlawful deactivations from these companies’ platforms. The DRO took effect on July 1st, 2021. The successful championing of these ordinances, by the Drivers Union and the Teamsters Local 117, has provided Uber and Lyft drivers a peace of mind found nowhere else in the nation. The Drivers Union is tasked with not only enforcing the DRO, but also with raising drivers’ awareness of their new rights and provide drivers the necessary supports needed to keep eligible drivers on the road. As a new organization, we are pioneering new methods that merge the areas of law and technology to both educate and assist drivers.

After training, the Fellow will start the Fellowship with our field organizing team who is responsible for meeting with drivers, assessing their rights under the various City ordinances and completing intake interviews. The goal is to educate the Fellow regarding the various issues pertaining to deactivation, for-hire permitting, and wages that the drivers face daily. This "boots on the ground" approach will assist the Fellow in not only seeing the issues firsthand but also gives them contact with the community we serve. Individual Case Handling - The Fellow will be given opportunities to work on specifically assigned individual cases which will include, as applicable, investigation; providing input on the merits of the case; crafting prosecutorial arguments, drafting subpoenas, responding to motions etc. The Fellow will also have an opportunity to assist in arbitration cases. Research – as we progress, we see the interconnectedness of various federal and state laws that impact gig-economy drivers. The Fellow will be assigned to conduct research and draft memorandums of law or other action-oriented documents on such laws, including the federal and Washington’s Fair Credit Reporting Act, the NLRA, and various laws effectuated by the EEOC.

Fellow(s) who are fluent in English and a second language, particularly Punjabi, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Tigrinya are strongly preferred. Because we are a new organization that is establishing processes and procedures in real time, we anticipate that our Fellow will be able to react quickly to a constantly evolving environment, possess effective communication skills, and be an initiative-taker.

The stipend for this fellowship will be $25 per hour ($10,000 for the full 10-week fellowship). Students typically work 40 hours per week.

Address cover letter to:

Anthony Grasher, Staff Attorney
Drivers Union
14675 Interurban Ave. S., Suite #307
Tukwila, WA 98168

https://www.driversunionwa.org/