A room full of rideshare and cab drivers gathered Sunday afternoon at the Yesler community center to rally support for better working conditions for employees of the cities most popular rideshare service, Uber.
The goal of the meeting was to unionize, with support from Teamsters Local 117.
Yedidta Seifu helped organize the event. He had some strong words to describe Uber’s treatment of its drivers
“We’ve been mistreated and treated no better than slaves,” he said.
The Seattle City Council voted recently to cap the number of active drivers Uber is allowed to have at any given time.
Councilman Mike O’Brien arrived at the meeting 35 minutes late, Councilwoman Kshama Sawant was slated to appear but did not show up.
Many of the drivers that spoke think the rating system riders use to rate the service is unfair. After each ride, users of the Uber app have the opportunity to rate their experience from 1 to 5 stars.
Former driver Will Anderson, who believes he was fired unjustly after attending a meeting for better working conditions, railed against using this feedback as a reason to fire a driver.
“I’m going to make this clear. You go to college, you get a 4.0, but for some reason you get a 3.0. The next thing you know they tell you, you can’t go to school here anymore because you’re a 3.0 student.”
He then set his sights on company management.
“They’re very disrespectful. They have no respect for the people. They have no remorse on what they do and how they do things down in that office.”
He continued, making an even stronger claim against those that let him go.
“I don’t understand it, but one thing I can say is this, is to me, and I don’t like using this word, but what they’re doing down there is biased, it’s racist and it’s discrimination. It’s as simple as that.”
Uber Seattle released the following statement in response to Anderson’s claim.
“Uber’s best-in-class service requires that we deactivate drivers who provide poor customer service, pose a risk to rider safety or violate our terms of service and commitment to customers. We no longer partner with Mr. Anderson because the contents of his background/driving record check. Safety for both riders and drivers is our top priority and we are committed to bringing the highest level of service to Seattle. ”