Mark Lennihan / AP
Like customers expecting the arrival of a Uber, it looks like the little picture of a car wins over a map on a phone, Uber drivers say they have also predicted (and predicted) the National Labor Inspectorate's decision denied them recognition as employees.
NLRB issued the advisory announcement Tuesday, almost a month after it was originally issued. It is concluded that the Uber drivers are independent contractors and not employees – a classification that does not entitle them to form a union or a partnership.
The message, which comes from NLRB's general consultant, serves as a recommendation for decisions in future cases, but will not affect many existing lawsuits.
The announcement of the decision comes on the heels of a national day of action by Uber and Lyft drivers last week. And some noted, suspiciously close to Uber's disappointing introductory public offerings on Friday.
Although the decision may be disappointing for the driver advocates, several shipping companies across the country say they are not intimidated or dishearted as they continue to pursue policies to regulate driver's employment at state and municipal level.
"NLRB is not a place where we expect to have our rights protected, given the Trump administration's position" at unions, Nicole Moore, a spokeswoman for Rideshare Drivers United in Los Angeles told the NPR, echoing a feeling shared by other regional lawyers.
"Just because we can't be a union doesn't mean we can't act as a union," Moore added.
She noted the NLRB's advisory is narrow in scope; It prevents Uber drivers and, in addition to lifting and other app-based drivers, from unionization, but it does not affect issues around minimum pay or working hours limits, she said. "And that's a good thing."
Driver groups across the country, inspired by winnings in New York and California, have shifted their focus from pursuing federal-level change to state and city level.
In California, state legislature works to codify a 2018 state's supreme court decision to establish an "ABC test" for who qualifies as an independent contractor and an employee.
In New York City, Taxi and the Limousine Commission voted in December to establish a base rate of $ 17.22 per hour, making it the first city in the country to set a minimum wage for app-based drivers. The city has also set a moratorium on new for-hire vehicle licenses.
Guardians in Chicago use New York as a model.
"We look at what New York City is doing and we focus our attention on the City Hall," Eli Martin, a driver and co-founder of Chicago Rideshare Advocates, told NPR.
Martin claims that most Chicago drivers do not want to be converted to health insurance employees. "The road ahead does not start a traditional union to negotiate with the company," he said.
Instead, he said that most of the group's requirements can be addressed by locally elected officials. "We are trying to get hold of the number of drivers, a form of wage increase" and city monitoring of Uber and Lyts deactivation.
With more than 67,000 active Uber and Lyft drivers across the city, Martin expects the organization to exert significant pressure on the new mayor and sitting age.
Angela Vogel, a driver and member of the Philadelphia Drivers Union, noted NLRB is just one of many agencies that can determine employee status. For example, the IRS has its own guidelines for deciding who is and is not an independent contractor. And government agencies often determine benefits such as eligibility, including employee compensation and unemployment.
"So what I tell people is just because the NLRB says we are not employees does not mean that state regulators will not have a different classification, and that is what we must continue to fight for," Vogel said.