Teamsters Maintain Lyft Drivers Should Be Classified As Employees
Doug BlochEmail: [email protected] Phone: (510) 333-1179
(SAN FRANCISCO) –– A federal judge has approved a $27 million monetary settlement in a class-action lawsuit against Lyft, after Teamsters and Lyft drivers filed legal objections to a preliminary settlement of $12.5 million, calling it “insufficient.”
The objections were filed by the Uber Lyft Teamsters Rideshare Alliance (ULTRA), Teamsters Joint Council 7 and Teamsters Joint Council 42 to a preliminary settlement in the case in March 2016. Following the objections, the judge ordered the parties to go back to the table to correct the deficiencies in the preliminary settlement covering nearly 100,000 California drivers.
“We’re happy for the drivers who got more of the money that they were owed, and felt it was our duty and role as Teamsters to step up with Lyft drivers in this lawsuit to correct a wrong. The initial settlement amount of $12.5 million was inaccurate and the judge recognized that workers were owed more,” said Rome Aloise, President of Teamsters Joint Council 7 and Secretary-Treasurer of Local 853 in Oakland.
The $12.5 million preliminary settlement amount included inaccuracies in calculating the mileage logged by drivers.
The settlement does not address the issue of misclassification of Lyft employees in California as independent contractors. 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.
The Teamsters and ULTRA also objected to the initial settlement proposal because it will not change Lyft’s business model of misclassifying employees as independent contractors.
“While the judge indicated that employee classification would need to take place legislatively or through means other than his court, Lyft drivers are as determined as ever to continue the fight to be treated and counted as employees, because they are in fact employees,” Aloise said.
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 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.