As the Thanksgiving holidays loomed in late November, some controversy was brewing in Seattle regarding a move to allow Seattle Uber and Lyft drivers to vote in a union election. Spokespeople for Uber and Lyft were arguing that, since the only drivers eligible would have to have logged at least 52 rides over the course of three months, the move would deprive more occasional drivers of their rights in the situation.
Unions have played a major role in many industries since the 19th century and, pretty obviously, opinions still differ widely on their overall effect on the economy and individuals. Regardless, the issues brought up by this matter are pretty interesting to those of us who are involved on the personal injury side of the equation.
Specifically, it will be interesting to see how the issue of insurance would play out among ridesharing drivers who were members of a union. A union could seek to bargain for an even higher amount of coverage for drivers while on the job; that might go even higher than the $1,000,000 they typically carry at present. Right now, drivers who are injured in the course of an accident where the other driver was at fault might be able to obtain sums that more correctly address their needs in the wake of a serious incident.
Of course, there are a great many issues that are brought up by the possibility of unionized ridesharing drivers that might well increase costs for what have become billion dollar companies, not to mention the Uber and Lyft customers who have grown accustomed to fares that are a small fraction of what cabdrivers typically charge.
Nevertheless, people who are injured in accidents that are the fault of another should be as fairly compensated as possible. So, as lawyers who are often involved in Uber and Lyft cases, it’s a trend worth noting.