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Union seeks to organize rideshare drivers in NYC

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 wants the Taxi and Limousine Commission to force Uber and Lyft to allow a vote

The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181, best known to New Yorkers as the school bus drivers’ union, is making a bid to organize drivers who work for Uber and Lyft.

The local, which has collected close to 14,000 signed union cards, is demanding—as one of its flyers says—that the Taxi and Limousine Commission "hold an election so all New York City Uber and Lyft drivers can vote for the union of their own choice."

A union effort of any kind for Uber and Lyft drivers faces stiff odds because the drivers are classified as independent contractors, not employees, and so are not eligible to organize under the National Labor Relations Act. So asking the TLC to hold an election is a strategy that has left some observers scratching their head. That includes the city agency, which is the target of a rally the union is holding on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon at TLC headquarters in Long Island City, Queens.

“While the TLC has no role whatsoever in unionization, we have long valued the importance of driver protections in our rulemaking and regulatory processes," said Commissioner Meera Joshi in a statement.

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