Uber called its recent union deal ‘historic.’ A new complaint alleges it was actually against the law in breaking it.
Uber’s union with its current employees is a historic deal, and it doesn’t even include the company’s drivers, which are locked into the company’s controversial self-driving car program. The deal, approved by an Uber employee board, would require all of those workers to join a union. It could also lead to the closure of the company entirely.
The deal has been hailed as “historic,” but it’s already facing fresh legal scrutiny from the National Labor Relations Board and an anonymous employee whose complaint alleges the deal is illegal and the company is breaking the law in breaking it.
The union drive began with the unionizing of the ride-hailing company’s 10,000-person, city-based workforce in April 2019. Two of its largest cities, New York City and Los Angeles, had been identified as possible hotbeds of organizing. With its employees now locked into the deal, Uber can now begin negotiating with one of five unions — the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the International Union of Operating Engineers, the Teamsters, the National drivers Guild and the National Association of Transportation Professionals — on a new collective bargaining agreement.
The new “grand bargain” with Teamsters Local 1604 is a five-year pact that “will settle the grievances of all Uber drivers and eliminate the need to strike,” Uber said in a statement announcing the deal.
The deal came about after months of negotiations. At issue was whether Uber was going to change its corporate structure, or revert to its old form of governance. The original board of employees that approved the deal was composed of Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and four other directors: Kevin Rose, the former New York Times reporter and author; John Zimmer, the former president of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Andy Rubin, the business investor, and Anthony Levandowski, the co-founder and former CEO of Uber’s self-driving car division.
But after more than a year of tense negotiations, the board — which included Levandowski — broke up, and now includes his fellow ex-colleagues, Rose, Zimmer, and another former colleague — David Bonderman, a venture capitalist who helped found and run the now-def