Uber settles major driver lawsuit: Will pay $100M – Politico

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With help from Marianne LeVine

UBER SETTLES MISCLASSIFICATION SUITS: From the Wall Street Journal’s Douglas MacMillan, Lauren Weber and Rachel Emma Silverman … “Uber Technologies Inc. has warded off a serious legal threat to its highflying business model with a settlement that may end the debate over whether its drivers should be counted as independent contractors or employees.”

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“The ride-hailing company said Thursday it has settled two closely watched class-action labor disputes covering 385,000 drivers in California and Massachusetts that will let Uber continue classifying drivers as contractors.”

“Under the terms of the settlement, Uber agreed to pay up to $100 million to these drivers in two states and revise its practice of deactivating drivers from the popular app without much warning or recourse. The company will also have to explain its decisions to terminate drivers, and in most cases must give warnings before removing drivers from the service. Drivers will also be allowed to post signs in their cars soliciting tips from riders.” http://on.wsj.com/22S6BKC

The New York Times’ Mike Isaac and Noam Scheiber report that Uber also agreed to help create new “drivers associations” in Massachusetts and California. “Uber will help fund these two associations and meet them quarterly to discuss the issues that matter most to drivers,” the company said. http://nyti.ms/1SnDYQo

Statement from Uber: “Growing and growing up” … “Uber is a new way of working: it’s about people having the freedom to start and stop work when they want, at the push of a button. As we’ve grown we’ve gotten a lot right — but certainly not everything.” http://ubr.to/22SdZFF

GOOD MORNING. It’s Friday, April 22, and this is Morning Shift, POLITICO’s daily tipsheet on labor and employment policy. Send tips, exclusives, and corrections to bmahoney@politico.com, tnoah@politico.com, and mlevine@politico.com. Follow us on Twitter at @politicomahoney, @timothyNoah1, and @marianne_levine.

INTERESTING TIMING: CALIFORNIA LEGISLATOR PULLS UBER UNION BILL: A California state legislator has withdrawn legislation granting collective bargaining rights to Uber and Lyft drivers. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego pulled the bill from committee so that more debate can take place before the vote. “The pause means the legislation is likely done for the year,” the Sacramento Bee’s Jeremy B. White reports.

“We want this to come out right,” Gonzalez told the Bee. “We just want to make sure as we create the legal framework that most people are comfortable and we’re not just jamming something through.” http://bit.ly/1VnPYHB

WORST YEAR FOR WORKPLACE FATALITIES SINCE 2008: The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Thursday said there were 4,821 fatal work injuries in 2014, the highest since 2008. Thursday’s estimates were higher than a preliminary count of 4,679 released in September. Fatal work injuries in the private construction industry were up nine percent from 2013. The oil and gas extraction industries saw a record-high 144 fatal work injuries in 2014. Older workers also saw record-high injuries. According to BLS, workers 55 and over suffered 1,691 fatal work injuries in 2014. More data here: http://1.usa.gov/1T21eDh

TRUMP IN PRELIMINARY TALKS WITH UNION AT D.C. HOTEL: UNITE Here Local 25 is in talks with the Trump Organization to represent workers at the company’s new Washington D.C. hotel, just steps from the White House, local 25’s executive secretary-treasurer John Boardman tells POLITICO’s Marianne LeVine.

Boardman said the talks are still in early stages but cited Trump’s relative friendliness to unions in New York as a source of optimism. It’s too early to tell what Trump will do. He’s negotiated with unions in New York and Atlantic City (where they’re hard to avoid),but his Trump International Hotel has refused to enter contract negotiations with UNITE Here affiliates in Las Vegas, even though the unions received NLRB certification last month.

ICYMI: SEIU WON’T ORGANIZE AIRBNB CONTRACTORS: Sounds like SEIU won’t make a deal after all with Airbnb. After conferring with SEIU leaders this week, the hospitality union UNITE HERE said in a statement, “it is our clear understanding that SEIU will not have a deal with Airbnb to represent housekeeping services.”

The groups met in Las Vegas Tuesday evening after reports surfaced that SEIU was nearing a deal in which Airbnb would support the Fight for $15 movement publicly and recommend that homeowners use SEIU-approved cleaning services. (SEIU stressed on Monday that it regularly engages with companies on workforce issues and had not reached a formal agreement with Airbnb). The proposal led to an outcry from UNITE HERE and housing advocates, who said Airbnb undermined unionized hotel jobs and flouted housing laws. http://bit.ly/1NngTjT

VERIZON STRIKE PUTTING PRESSURE ON EARNINGS: Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said the ongoing strike of 40,000 union workers in the Northeast could put “pressure on earnings,” but much depends on how long the workers will be able to hold out. Depending on the progress of the negotiations, we may need to update the full-year guidance at a later time,” she said. Shammo doesn’t anticipate any significant financial impact in the second quarter, “unless this drags on for a much longer time.” More from USA Today’s Edward Baig: http://usat.ly/1pmrlwM

CHICAGO TEACHERS UNION FAULTED: The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board Thursday enjoined the Chicago Teachers Union from repeating its April 1 walkout over stalled contract negotiations, saying a one-day strike would be illegal. Union lawyers say another one-day strike wasn’t in the cards anyway. Contract talks between the Chicago Public Schools and the union will resume shortly as the union threatens a major strike in May. More from ABC: http://abc7.ws/1TlKLMY

SENATE APPROPRIATIONS TO EEOC: REDUCE BACKLOG: The Senate Appropriations committee advanced a FY 2017 bill that requires the EEOC to reduce its backlog of unresolved discrimination cases. In addition, the EEOC would need, if requested by two commissioners, to provide a minimum 30-day comment period for any new guidance. In a statement, Sen. Lamar Alexander said this provision “help ensure that the agency’s guidances are not implemented without giving the public an opportunity to have a say.”

HEDGE FUND AND MUTUAL FUNDS WIN WITH NEW PAY RULE: Hedge funds and mutual-fund companies are the biggest winners of a proposed rule intended to restrict executive pay, Rob Copeland and Daisy Maxey write for the Wall Street Journal.

The rules will spare most hedge funds and mutual fund firms “because the rules are applied based on the size of corporate assets, not assets held for clients,” Copeland and Maxey report. http://on.wsj.com/245AU2J

“The proposed rules would require financial firms to hold back executives’ bonus pay for four years, extending by a year the common industry practice on Wall Street incentive payouts,” the Journal’s Donna Borak and Andrew Ackerman report. “The plan also would require a minimum period of seven years for the biggest firms to ‘claw back’ bonuses if it turns out an executive’s actions hurt the institution or if a firm has to restate financial results.” http://on.wsj.com/1WHLcUO

NLRB DENIES PSYCH WORKER UNION BID AT DARTMOUTH: Thirteen psychiatrists and four psychiatric nurse practitioners won’t be able to organize a union at a hospital psych program funded by the Trustees of Dartmouth College at New Hampshire Hospital in Concord, N.H. Dartmouth plans to end the program in June, NLRB Regional Director John Walsh said, dismissing the petition in light of the “imminence and certainty of Dartmouth College’s decision to permanently lay off its employees.” Full decision here: http://bit.ly/1TlQRwM

A CLARIFICATION ABOUT RICHARD GRIFFIN’S CLAIRVOYANCE: On Thursday we reported that NLRB General Counsel Richard Griffin expects the board to release by August its decision on whether graduate student teaching assistants may organize unions. Griffin expects the case, ColumbiaUniversity, to come before Democratic board member Kent Hirozawa leaves his post Aug. 27.

The board asked us Thursday to clarify that Griffin has no inside knowledge of when the case would issue. His prediction is based on public remarks that Hirozawa made at an American Bar Association meeting in January. Here are Griffin’s full comments on the Columbia University case, made earlier this month at a panel in New York, and courtesy of POLITICO’s Conor Skelding:

“So, member Hirozawa’s term is up I think August 27,” Griffin said. “And I don’t have any inside information, because obviously there’s a barrier between the board in its decisional capacity and the general counsel’s office, so I don’t know, but I was present along with many others for this … committee meeting, and that’s what I took away and a number of others took away from the presentation, that [Columbia University] was a priority. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s going to get decided, I just think that there’s a very good chance that it will be decided by August.”


— Machinists still pushing to organize Boeing in South Carolina: http://bit.ly/1TlL36l

— Workers sue over sub-minimum “training wages,” from the Stranger: http://bit.ly/26icFQQ

— “All the Sad Broke Literary Men,” from Slate: http://slate.me/1Tm9NLV

— CAL/OSHA cites Taylor Farms, temp agencies for chemical release: http://prn.to/1VJphge

— “The Legal Argument That Could Overturn ‘Right-to-Work’ Laws Around the Country,” from In These Times: http://bit.ly/22S91J4

— “Goldman Sachs: What construction labor shortage?,” from Construction Dive: http://bit.ly/1r2D84R

— “UW study says Seattle’s $15 wage hasn’t raised prices,” from Post-Intelligencer: http://bit.ly/22S99Z4

— “11th Circ. Remands Fla. Truck Driver FLSA Suit For Arbitration,” from Law360: http://bit.ly/1QqOofU [Full decision: http://1.usa.gov/1TlR9nf]

— “Metropolitan Museum of Art plans job cuts and restructuring,” http://nyti.ms/1TlPG0d

— “Can Teamsters Save the Right to Retire?,” from Labor Notes: http://bit.ly/1WgsB1t


Uber settles major driver lawsuit: Will pay $100M – Politico