Lyft Settlement Inadequate, Maintains Dangerous Model of Employee Misclassification
Doug BlochEmail: [email protected] Phone: (510) 333-1179
(SAN FRANCISCO) –– Lyft drivers, the Uber Lyft Teamsters Rideshare Alliance (ULTRA), Teamsters Joint Council 7 and Teamsters Joint Council 42 have filed legal objections to a class-action lawsuit settlement which would continue to misclassify Lyft employees in California as independent contractors.
The objections were filed late yesterday in federal district court in San Francisco. The case is being heard by Judge Vince Chhabria.
In their filing, the objectors stated that the proposed settlement “does not provide sufficient monetary compensation to the class, and the non-monetary components of the settlement are of dubious value or do not substantially change Lyft’s practices.”
The proposed settlement does not include any money for workers resulting from Lyft’s violations of the minimum wage, violations of the law requiring accurate wage statements, unpaid meal and rest breaks, prompt payment violations and reporting time violations.
After Lyft drivers and the Teamsters filed objections to a preliminary settlement in this case in March, Chhabria ordered the attorneys to go back to the table to correct deficiencies in the monetary value of the settlement covering 100,000 California drivers.
The current $27 million settlement was adjusted from the preliminary settlement amount of $12.5 million because of inaccuracies in calculating the mileage logged by drivers. The proposed final settlement covers only 17 percent of estimated damages for the drivers’ reimbursement claim. Of that amount, $3.675 million will go to attorneys’ fees.
The settlement leaves in place Lyft’s misclassification of its drivers as independent contractors, and permits Lyft to deprive its drivers of their right to bring class actions in the future, while also forcing them into costly arbitrations of disputes involving their compensation and bonuses.
Due to various carve-outs contained in the settlement, the arbitration provision provides less protection than state law.
Unlike employees, independent contractors do not have the rights to receive overtime pay, reimbursement for expenses and many other rights under the California Labor Code.
“This proposed settlement will not change Lyft’s business model of misclassifying its employees as independent contractors and that is one of the many reasons we object. Lyft makes its profits by undercutting workers and taxpayers. This is an unfair settlement and drivers have earned more and deserve better,” said Rome Aloise, President of Joint Council 7.
Aloise heads the California Teamsters Public Affairs Council, along with Joint Council 42 President Randy Cammack.
Teamsters have been engaged in an ongoing effort to organize TNC drivers in the Bay Area.
Also in the high tech industry, hundreds of drivers at tech companies, including Facebook, Yahoo, Apple, eBay and others in Silicon Valley, have organized in the past year with the Teamsters. The union has negotiated strong contracts for the drivers, including good wages, benefits and workplace protections.
The Teamsters Union is part of a growing movement of labor, faith and community-based organizations and workers challenging income inequality in Silicon Valley through an innovative partnership called Silicon Valley Rising. For more information, visit http://siliconvalleyrising.org.
For more information on tech worker organizing with the Teamsters, visit http://teamster.org/tech-drivers-deserve-union.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States and Canada. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.