For-Hire Driver Collective Bargaining

In December 2015, the Seattle City Council passed Ordinance 124968, which creates collective bargaining opportunities for taxicab, flat-rate vehicle and transportation network company drivers. Ordinance 125132 sets the commencement date as Jan. 17, 2017, and provides additional guidance to the Department of Finance and Administrative Services in drafting a rule concerning qualifying drivers.

Who is affected?

The new law applies to drivers who are paid to give rides to passengers, whether they drive for a taxi company, a flat-rate vehicle company or a transportation network company (e.g., Uber, Lyft).

What does it mean for drivers?

The new law allows drivers to decide if they want to be represented in bargaining efforts with their respective companies regarding issues such as payments to drivers, vehicle safety and other matters of mutual interest.

Draft and amended rules for public comment

The City of Seattle's Department of Finance and Administrative Services director, acting under the authority of Seattle Municipal Code 6.310.735.M.1.a, proposes to adopt six rules relating to for-hire driver representation and collective bargaining:

The FAS director initially proposed these six rules on March 6, 2017. However, based on input received at that time, the rules have changed substantially enough to warrant a second comment period. In addition, the FAS director proposes to amend the four existing rules relating to for-hire driver representation and collective bargaining:

The FAS director finalized these four rules on Dec. 29, 2016, but is amending them to correct code citations and align them with the rules currently proposed. They also remove any requirement to include a driver's license number in qualifying driver lists or statements of interest under Ordinance 124968.

For convenience, all 10 proposed and amended rules are available in this combined document (PDF).

PUBLIC COMMENT: All interested persons are invited to present data, views or arguments regarding the proposed and amended rules in writing. On the four amended rules, the FAS director will consider only those comemnts pertaining to the language amended. The FAS director will not hold an in-person public hearing on the proposed and amended rules. Written comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. on May 5, 2017, and may be emailed, mailed or delivered to:

City of Seattle
Department of Finance and Administrative Services
Attention: Matthew Eng
700 Fifth Ave., 52nd Floor
P.O. Box 94689
Seattle, WA 98124-4689
DriverRepresentation@seattle.gov

For-Hire Driver Collective Bargaining Director's Rules

TitleCity Clerk File No.Rule No.
Qualifying Driver and Lists of Qualifying Drivers 320058 FHDR-1
Application Process for Designating a Qualified Driver Representative 320059 FHDR-2
Certification of an Exclusive Driver Representative 320060 FHDR-3
Subjects of Bargaining between a Driver Coordinator and an Exclusive Driver Representative 320061 FHDR-4

Information about:

A qualifying driver meets all of the following conditions:

  • Is a licensed for-hire driver.
  • Hired by or began contracting with, partnering with or maintaining a contractual relationship with a company like Uber, Lyft, Yellow or Eastside For Hire (referred to as a driver coordinator) prior to Oct. 19, 2016.
  • Drove at least 52 trips originating or ending within the Seattle city limits for that company during any three-month period between Jan. 17, 2016, and Jan. 17, 2017. A trip is defined as transporting a passenger from one place to another for compensation.

A for-hire driver may be a qualifying driver for more than one company.

Please see Director's Rule FHDR-1 for more information on a qualifying driver.

A qualified driver representative (QDR) is an organization like a labor union or nonprofit that meets the City's criteria and will try to gather support from drivers (for a particuar driver coordinator) to represent their issues with the driver coordinator. During the most recent application period, we received and approved one application, from Teamsters Local 117. For more information about that approval, see the letter from the Finance and Administrative Services director to Teamsters Local 117.

Approval letter to Teamsters Local 117 (PDF)

A driver coordinator is a company that hires, contracts with or partners with drivers to provide for-hire transportation services using an app or dispatch system. Driver coordinators include, but are not limited to, taxicab associations, for-hire vehicle companies and transportation network companies (TNCs). Based on information known to the City, this list contains information on organizations that appear to be driver coordinators within the meaning of Seattle Municipal Code Chapter 6.310.110 and that appear to have hired, contracted with, partnered with or maintained a contractual relationship or partnership with at least 50 for-hire drivers during the 30-day period preceding the commencement date of Jan. 17, 2017.

List of apparent driver coordinators (PDF)


Other reference:

Qualifying Driver
A driver who drives for a driver coordinator and has the opportunity to decide whether to have his/her interests, and the interests of his/her fellow drivers, represented by a qualified driver representative. Through a director's rule, the City has defined a qualifying driver as one meeting the following requirements:

  • Was hired by or began contracting with, partnering with or maintaining a contractual relationship with a particular driver coordinator for at least 90 days prior to the commencement date.
  • Drove at least 52 trips originating or ending with the Seattle city limits for a particular driver coordinator during any three-month period in the 12 months preceding the commencement date. A trip is defined as transporting a passenger from one place to another for compensation.

Driver Coordinator
Companies that hire, contract with or partner with drivers to provide for-hire transportation services using an app or dispatch system. Driver coordinators include, but are not limited to, taxicab associations (e.g., Yellow, Orange), for-hire vehicle companies (e.g., Flat Rate, Eastside) and transportation network companies (TNCs) (e.g., Uber, Lyft). Drivers are not necessarily assumed to be employees of driver coordinators.

Qualified Driver Representative (QDR)
An organization like a labor union or nonprofit that meets criteria set by the City through a director's rule that will try to gather support from drivers for a particular driver coordinator to represent their issues in negotiations with that driver coordinator.

Statement of Interest
A statement signed and dated by a driver saying that he/she wants to be represented by a particular QDR. According to City law, drivers' statements of interest must be verified to make sure they are authentic.

Exclusive Driver Representative (EDR)
A QDR that has gained the majority of support from drivers for a particular driver coordinator and, for purposes of collective bargaining, is the exclusive representative for that group of drivers.

Collective Bargaining
Negotiation of wages and other conditions of employment by an organized (and represented) group of drivers. For our work, negotiations occur between an EDR and a driver coordinator.

Subjects of Bargaining
The topics covered during collective bargaining. For drivers, example topics include vehicle safety, safe driving practices, hours of work and payments to drivers.

Collective Bargaining Agreement
A written agreement between a driver coordinator and an EDR that contains provisions covering the subjects bargained.

Commencement Date
A date set by the Department of Finance and Administrative Services that initiates various parts of implementing the law. The initial commencement date is Jan. 17, 2017.

Hassan drives for Lyft. Lyft is Hassan's driver coordinator.

Hassan has driven for Lyft since July 2016 and drives an average of 10 Lyft trips per week, making him a qualifying driver. As a qualifying driver, Hassan has the opportunity, along with his fellow qualifying drivers, to decide whether all drivers should be represented. If Hassan states that he does not want to be represented but a majority of his fellow qualifying drivers state that they do, then all drivers for Hassan's driver coordinator will be represented.

ABC Group is interested in representing Hassan and other Lyft drivers. ABC Group submits an application to the City to represent Lyft drivers. The City accepts ABC Group's application and ABC Group becomes a qualified driver representative.

As a qualified driver representative, ABC Group now wants to negotiate Hassan's hours, wages and working conditions with Lyft's management. To do so, ABC Group needs support from a majority of Lyft's qualifying drivers to become the exclusive driver representative.

Hassan signs and dates a paper card called a statement of interest to prove he wants to be represented by ABC Group. The City receives and verifies statements of interests from a majority of Lyft's qualifying drivers and certifies ABC Group as the exclusive driver representative.

ABC Group and Lyft sit down at a table to collectively bargain or negotiate certain topics of importance to Hassan and other Lyft drivers. The topics, called subjects of bargaining, could include how much Hassan gets paid, the practices Hassan follows to make his vehicle safe, how Hassan's background is checked and other topics.

When ABC Group and Lyft complete their negotiations, they reach a collective bargaining agreement, a document that finalizes details on the subjects of bargaining. City staff makes sure that the agreement fulfills the goals of the law and, if it does, approves the agreement.

In October 2016, the City surveyed for-hire drivers on their experiences. This document summarizes the survey results and provides demographic information on the drivers who took the survey.

Survey summary document (PDF)