Saturday, July 27, 2019

There's Nothing at All Stopping Uber Drivers from Unionizing

Whenever I read about lawsuits or legislation seeking to turn Uber drivers into "employees," one of the key talking points is that unless they're "employees" or otherwise somehow re-classified by the government, they "can't unionize."

The latest instance is in South Bend, Indiana mayor (and Democratic presidential primary candidate) Pete Buttigieg's plan to "empower workers in a changing economy":

Pete will support codifying the simple "ABC test" for classifying workers nationally in order to prevent workers in the gig economy from being denied minimum wage, overtime, and antidiscrimination protections -- and their ability to unionize. In order to classify a worker as an independent contractor under the ABC test, an employer must demonstrate that the worker (A) is free from the employer’s control, (B) is performing work that is outside the employer’s usual course of business, and (C) customarily works as an independent business in that industry. The test will also ensure that Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protections like the minimum wage apply. As a backstop to the ABC test and in order to guarantee collective bargaining rights to gig workers, Pete will also propose amending U.S. law to allow independent contractors with no employees, little capital investment, and substantially similar working relationships with a single company to unionize.

Here's what needs to happen for "independent contractors with no employees, little capital investment, and substantially similar working relationships with a single company to unionize":


Uber drivers are already free to join or form unions.

Those unions are already free to approach Uber and attempt to negotiate contracts covering various aspects of their members' relationships with the company.

What "progressive" politicians  like Buttigieg are trying to do (at the behest of a particular variety of rent-seeking fat cat business executives -- "union officials") is magically turn Uber drivers into "employees" rather than the independent contractors they actually are so that they can use the National Labor Relations Act to force 100% of Uber drivers to join a union (and pay dues to, and create rake-offs for, the aforementioned rent-seeking fat cats) if 50%+1 of those drivers vote to make it so.

Many of those same "progressive" politicians are openly calling themselves "socialists" while at the same time fighting tooth and nail against the core tenet of socialism -- worker ownership of the means of production -- and on behalf of the union boss fat cats' "right" to exploit Uber drivers and coercively extract surplus value from their labor.

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