Uber called its recent union deal ‘historic.’ A new complaint alleges it was actually against the law, because Uber isn’t a driver.
In April 2017 Uber reached a new agreement with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on a new driver-service agreement, which has been in effect since March of this year. The new agreement, the first such agreement in the history of the NLRB, gives certain employees some of the legal protections that private-sector workers currently enjoy. To be sure, the agreement is an improvement over the previous one, which was far less generous, as it allowed drivers to drive at the same ‘normal work hours’ as other Uber employees.
The NLRB also found that it was unfair to make Uber drivers more expensive to the Uber system by capping their pay.
The details that led to the agreement, and the details that led to the new complaint, aren’t very different from the details of the previous agreement. In a document filed on May 9, 2018, the NLRB sets out a detailed analysis of the existing driver agreement (which went into effect March 23, 2017) and the new agreement (which went into effect April, 2018), and concludes that the new one is unfair to drivers.
A New Complaint
The NLRB also made a formal complaint to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), requesting that the DOL conduct an investigation. The complaint charges that the new agreement is contrary to law. It goes into some of the terms of the agreement, but, as we’ll see, the most important portion of it is its analysis of the existing agreement.
The DOL complaint is an entirely different animal, and a lot of the points that the government takes out from the Uber driver-service agreement are not new. For example, the agreement gives its employees a list of rights, but the DOL complaint is actually asking for the right to collectively bargain over those rights.
The complaint specifically targets Uber’s ‘right to make changes to its employee benefits and compensation plan’ and claims that, by capping wages and benefits, Uber is violating Section 8(a)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act, which guarantees employees ‘the right to self-organize and to form