As Seattle officials continue to focus on the wellbeing of rideshare drivers, a new law went into effect on July 1 that protects drivers from unwarranted termination or deactivation. Seattle is the first city to offer rideshare drivers this type of worker protection.
According to Peter Kuel, president of Drivers Union, July 1 will be a new beginning for drivers. It’s a turning point where drivers will have a place to go to report a situation. Sometimes they don’t know how to use the seat belt, and someone says, ‘They are no good.’ [The driver] is thrown out.”
Kuel started the union after realizing too many drivers were losing work after customer complaints. The complaints were in regard to seat belts not working, driving behaviors, and more. He believes having drivers feel secure in their jobs will result in improved customer service and happier passengers.
Nurayne Foana, a rideshare driver in Seattle starting in 2016, spoke with King 5 News about the new law and its impact: “A lot of win for drivers. It means peace of mind, it means job security for drivers.” Foana was in an accident while carrying passengers in 2017. Even though he took the appropriate actions with the police, the insurance company, and Uber, and he was deemed not at fault for what happened, the company deactivated him for being in a crash.
The new law, known as the Deactivation Rights Ordinance, is a joint effort between Seattle and the Drivers Union. This follows the 2020 passing of Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan’s “Fare Share” proposal that mandated a minimum wage for the cities rideshare drivers.
For more support, Uber and Lyft drivers can contact the Drivers Union for legal consultations and education through at least December 2022.
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