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Drivers Credit Success to Job Flexibility!

Drivers Credit Success to Job Flexibility!

Posted on 08 December 2016 by admin

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Seattle Ordinance Will Mean New Rules for Taxicab and Rideshare Drivers, and Changes in Service for Commuters!

 

By guest author, Drive Forward

 

You don’t need to own a car to get around Seattle. Transit options abound, whether you go by trolley or train, boat or bus. And with the proliferation of rideshare services such as Uber, getting from here to there has never been easier.

Ahmed, an Uber driver-partner, regards every passenger as a customer service opportunity. He serves 20 or more customers in his blue Toyota Prius some days. Some want a one-mile ride. Others are in it for the long haul. He looks forward to them all.


“I love my customers, and they’re happy to see me!” he says.

Ahmed is not an Uber employee. He’s an independent contractor who partners with Uber. He owns a small business, and his Prius is his office.

Ahmed, 57, and his wife live in Renton. Their children are grown. His wife runs a home-based business. He likes that he can take time off from his work — minutes, hours, days — to help his wife when needed. He says the Uber platform makes that possible.

“Everybody, when you ask why they drive Uber, they’re going to answer ‘Because of the flexibility,’ ” he says. “I don’t want to lose that flexibility.”

Riders appreciate that flexibility, too. But new rules could hamper the way the current system works.
A Seattle ordinance on collective bargaining (passed last December) will mean new rules for taxicab and rideshare drivers for services such as Uber, and the commuters who use them.

Here are some details about the collective bargaining process, as spelled out in the ordinance:
First, unions (such as Teamsters) or non-profit organizations can apply to be a “Qualified Driver Representative” or QDR. If the QDR is approved by the city, rideshare services such as Uber will have to turn over personal contact information for all drivers so the QDR can contact each driver to solicit support for forming a union.

Next, a group of “qualified drivers” will get to vote whether they want to be represented by the union or have a non-profit represent them, or whether they want to remain independent.
Uber partner Debra says she worries about any collective bargaining agreement that would control the hours she works and in the process eliminate the scheduling flexibility that attracted her to Uber in the first place.

“I don’t have to say no to my family,” she says. “The minute they make us do shifts, I can’t do that anymore.”

Debra says she’s not opposed to unions — in fact she was a union member when she worked as a nurse and a college instructor — but that any attempt to regulate Uber would put her out of a job.

Toni, another partner, credits Uber with allowing her to work on her own terms even as she received chemotherapy treatment from June 2015 until February 2016.

She says any formal contract with the city would “effectively turn us into taxicabs” and kill the industry.

The exact requirements to be a “qualified driver” are still being negotiated, but the ordinance in its present form indicates that only drivers who meet a certain number of trips or hours over the prior four months will get a vote. That would leave many drivers out of the picture.

The upshot: Not all drivers get a vote on whether they want to be represented. If more than 50 percent of qualifying drivers vote in favor of being represented by the union, then the union would represent all drivers — even the drivers who didn’t get to vote or who voted against the union.

Maurice says he was one step away from being homeless when he heard about Uber and became a driver-partner. He says “my security is in my flexibility to run my business the way I choose to run it. With collective bargaining, I’d no longer be able to do that.”

The city is focused on drafting rules for the ordinance, such as what constitutes a “qualified driver.” Implementation of the ordinance is now slated for January 2017.

Drive Forward is a nonprofit organization created by Uber and Eastside for Hire to empower riders, drivers, and community members to raise their voice about issues affecting rideshare, for-hire, and taxi drivers, and the communities they serve.

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Some Taxi and For Hire Industry Tell Mayor, ‘DON’T LEAVE US BEHIND’!

Some Taxi and For Hire Industry Tell Mayor, ‘DON’T LEAVE US BEHIND’!

Posted on 02 November 2016 by admin

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Abdul, left, and Samatar delivering their letter at the front desk of Seattle Mayor’s Office in the City Hall on Tuesday November 1st.

Runta—Seattle

A group representing some Seattle Cab Companies delivered yesterday a letter of complaint to the Mayor’s office at Seattle City Hall. “We will be delivering a letter to Mayor Murray,” said Abdul Yusuf and Sam Guled, whose E-Cab Taxi and Flat Rate for Hire vehicles now number over 700 (largest fleet in the North West), “that says, on collective bargaining for taxi and for-hire drivers, and other issues that affect our lives and our incomes, the City is not talking to us.  Eastside and E-Cab recently won the SeaTac Airport Taxi and For Hire contract.

Abdul and Sam said in a press release letter they send also to the local media, the City is not talking to our drivers, or drivers in our industry in general that number over 4,000 Seattle citizens.  The City is not talking to our community leaders.  The City is talking to California-based TNC companies, like Uber and Lyft, and to Teamsters 117, a labor union whose representation has been rejected by most actual taxi and for-hire drivers.  And every day, our drivers pay the price. The Industry of Taxi and For Hire is the back bone of the minority, refugee and immigrant communities in Seattle and we cannot be on the sidelines when our own livelihood is being discussed. We are astonished with the level of disrespect from the mayor’s staff to our industry and our communities during last council hearings on the subject matter. We believe we are the biggest stake holders in the industry and we must be at the table at all time.

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The representative of some Seattle Cab/For Hire Companies soon after they delivered their letter

            “The letter is signed by our drivers, and our community leaders.  We are tired of the Mayor’s staff telling the Council that they are talking to us, about things like collective bargaining, when in fact they are not.  And we want to put a stop to self-appointed organizations speak for us, instead of listening to us, and working with us.”

            Community leaders including African Americans (including Africans) and South Asians, and number of drivers have joined Guled and Yusuf in making the unscheduled presentation to the Mayor at his office in City Hall.

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Washington CAN! and Councilmembers Sawant, Herbold, O’Brien unveil  move­in fee cap legislation  Seattle, WA

Washington CAN! and Councilmembers Sawant, Herbold, O’Brien unveil move­in fee cap legislation Seattle, WA

Posted on 22 July 2016 by admin

 

Council Members from left Lisa Herbold, Mike Obrien, and Kshama Sawant at the press conference. Photo by Runta News

— A variety of community and labor organizations joined Washington Community Action Network and 

Councilmembers Kshama Sawant, Lisa Herbold, and Mike O’Brien to unveil both Seattle’s Renting Crisis: A Report and Policy Recommendations as well as legislation to cap move­in fees. Washington CAN!’s report revealed marginalized communities are disproportionately impacted by unaffordable rent, landlord retaliation, unhealthy housing  conditions, and the various barriers to accessing housing.  In the report, one of the biggest barriers to accessing housing is the high upfront costs (security deposit, last month’s rent, first month’s rent, and nonrefundable fees) many landlords require tenants to pay at move­in. “I receive Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Insurance, a total of $752 a month. With rents as high as they are, I do not have the ability to save for these high upfront costs ­ which would easily be several thousand dollars. I have to move in March, and because of the high rent and upfront costs common in Seattle, I do not know what I’m going to do if legislative steps to remedy this problem are not taken,” said Meagan Murphy, member of Washington CAN!  Councilmember Sawant’s legislation, 

crafted with input from Washington CAN!, would require  move­in fees (security deposit and nonrefundable fees combined) to be no more than the cost of  one month’s rent. In addition, landlords would be 

required to accept a payment plan of up to six months for move­in fees and last month’s rent.  “Seattle’s renters are facing a serious crisis. In May, one­bedroom apartment rents rose 11%, the highest increase in the nation. As we fight for rent control, we need to reduce all barriers faced by renters. The cost of moving into a rental unit is first on that list,” Sawant said.  Both Councilmember Herbold and Councilmember O’Brien support this legislation.  “Low­income individuals and families across the city continue to struggle to find housing and move­in costs pose a barrier to many tenants who are barely making ends meet. This legislation will help address this barrier by lowering up­front costs to Seattle renters. Thanks to Washington CAN! and Councilmember Sawant for bringing this forward,” O’Brien said.   A variety of labor and community organizations support this legislation as well.  “Low­income women, particularly women with children, are especially vulnerable to predatory landlords who charge exorbitant fees to access housing. Excessive move­in costs can make housing prohibitively expensive, and present yet another barrier to women who already face hurdles when trying to access basic health care, including reproductive health care. Women are more  likely to be poor, more likely to be raising children alone, and more likely to face barriers to  housing access, which is why NARAL Pro­Choice Washington supports this proposal to make  housing more accessible to all Seattle residents,” said Rachel Berkson, Executive Director of  NARAL Pro­Choice Washington.   Monica Cortes Viharo, UAW Local 4121 Executive Board member says, “Our members (student workers at the University of Washington) 

really struggle with housing affordability. We see this issue as vital to our members’ interests and to addressing a broader need to make Seattle livable for all low­wage workers.” Several other organizations attended the press conference to show their support for the legislation (SEIU Local 6, SEIU 1199, Transit Riders Union, Tenants Union, Gender Justice League, Wa-shington Student Association, UAW Local 4121, UFCW Local 21, Seattle Education Association, and others).  The legislation will be introduced in the coming weeks. Washington CAN! will continue to push  for both this legislation and the policy recommendations 

ou-tlined in their report. 

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City Implementing For-Hire Driver Collective Bargaining Law

City Implementing For-Hire Driver Collective Bargaining Law

Posted on 10 June 2016 by admin

Drivers

Three community workshops scheduled to obtain stakeholder input

SEATTLE (June 8, 2016) – In 2015, the Seattle City Council passed Download Most Recent Classifieds.

, which creates collective bargaining opportunities for taxicab, flat-rate vehicle and transportation network company drivers. As part of the implementation process, the city of Seattle will be hosting a series of facilitated workshops to receive input from drivers, industry representatives and any other interested parties.

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). It allows drivers to decide if they want to be represented in bargaining efforts with their respective companies regarding issues such as payments to driveres, vehicle safety and other matters of mutual interest. Staff from the city’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services, which is tasked with creating rules to implement this law, is asking for feedback on a variety of topics, including:

Criteria to determine driver eligibility.

How organizations will qualify to represent eligible drivers.

The topics that will be covered by the bargaining process.

Three workshops are planned in different areas of the city. Those interested in offering feedback only need to attend one.

9:30-11:30 a.m., Saturday, June 25
North Seattle College – College Center Room 1456
9600 College Way N., Seattle, WA 98103

1:30-3:30 p.m., Thursday, July 7
New Holly Gathering Hall
7054 32nd Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98118

1:30-3:30 p.m., Friday, July 8
Miller Community Center – Multi-Purpose Room
330 18th Ave. E., Seattle, WA 98112

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Workshop materials will be available in English, Amharic, Oromo, Tigrinya, Somali and Hindi. Interpretation services for Amharic, Oromo, Tigrinya, Somali and Hindi will also be provided at the workshops. For those observing Ramadan, dedicated prayer space will be available at each workshop.

The specific questions that will be asked at the workshop are available on the city’s website at http://bit.ly/DriverRepresentation. The webpage also provides information on how to submit comments via mail or email if not attending a workshop.

For more information about the workshops or this process, contact Matthew Eng at 206-684-8157 or email DriverRepresentation@seattle.gov

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Comcast Partners with Runta to Get Word Out About Broadband Access

Comcast Partners with Runta to Get Word Out About Broadband Access

Posted on 24 February 2016 by admin

runtaThe Somali community makes up a portion of the lower-income, inner-city housing population in south Seattle and neighboring cities. Comcast serves many of these neighborhoods. As a result, reaching out to engage with the Somali community, its social services, and media are important.

Recently, Comcast partnered with Runta News, a Somali-influenced news organization based in Seattle, to promote broadband access through its Internet Essentials program. Internet Essentials provides low-cost Internet service to low-income families. Eligible households include one with a child on or qualified for the National Lunch Program. (Learn more at www.InternetEssentials.com.)

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Comcast worked with Runta News’ Publisher Mohamud Yussuf to develop a special, bi-lingual print and online edition along with social media promotion, to highlight the benefits and impact of the IE program. The partnership also created further brand awareness among the community, who boast more than 30,000 in the Seattle area alone.

“It was definitely heartfelt and impactful partnership, the biggest of its kind so far,” said Yussuf. “It was positively welcomed by the community here in the Seattle and around the world. We hope this partnership will continue to strengthen community ties so to further bring more positive change and collaboration.”

Comcast also partners with the East African Community Services, a nonprofit based in the Holly Park housing development in south Seattle, to maintain computer lab accessibility for its residents.

Please read one of the partnership articles in this link

http://www.runtanews.com/2014/12/17/making-internet-affordable-for-our-communities-comcasts-internet-essentials/

Also the origin of this article http://wacomcast.com/2015/01/14/comcast-partners-with-somali-american-newspaper-to-get-word-out-about-broadband-access/

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Mayor will not sign on TNC ordinance, Kshama Celebrates for it!

Mayor will not sign on TNC ordinance, Kshama Celebrates for it!

Posted on 15 December 2015 by admin

SEATTLE (Dec. 14, 2015) – Mayor Ed Murray today issued the following statement after the Seattle City Council adopted an ordinance that grants drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft the right to organize and collectively bargain with the transportation network companies: pic1 “The tremendous growth of TNCs in Seattle, both in terms of popularity and the number of trips, demonstrates that this new business model is changing how people move around the city. These companies are providing valuable new tools for city residents and innovating at a tremendous pace. “I said consistently during this debate that I support the right of workers to organize to create a fair and just workplace. I remain concerned that this ordinance, as passed by the Council, includes several flaws, especially related to the relatively unknown costs of administering the collective bargaining process and the burden of significant rulemaking the Council has placed on City staff. My office has shared my concerns with the Council throughout the debate, including a letter I sent to Council today. “Since my concerns were not adequately addressed in this legislation, I will not sign this bill. Under the City Charter, the ordinance will become law without my signature. As this ordinance takes effect, my administration will begin its work to determine what it will take to implement the law. I believe it will be necessary to seek additional clarifying legislation from the Council. I look forward to working with councilmembers in 2016 on their ordinance.” pic2 On the other hand Councilmember Kshama Sawant celebrated today’s unanimous vote in support of C.B. 118499 intended to help provide union rights for drivers of TNC/Taxi/For-hire vehicles, and issued the following statement: “This legislation is a huge victory for all the underpaid workers seeking to rebuild the labor movement and fight for a decent life. Massive corporations such as Uber, Lyft, FedEx, and others exploit loopholes around independent contractors to try and prevent workers from unionizing. This ‘new economy’ needs the ‘old methods’ of collective action like unions, strikes and social struggle. Today’s legislation is a call for workers around the world to demand that local governments provide collective organizing rights in the new economy.” The bill, co-sponsored by Councilmember Mike O’Brien and Councilmember Nick Licata, will create a process whereby a majority of independently contracted drivers working for the same company could choose to join a Driver Representative Organization to negotiate the pay rates and conditions of their employment.

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Council Calls for Action to Support Somali Community in  Remittance Crisis

Council Calls for Action to Support Somali Community in Remittance Crisis

Posted on 19 May 2015 by admin

councilSEATTLECouncil unanimously approved legislation today, which calls on several City departments to investigate options that would allow Seattle residents to continue servicing remittances to Somalia.Due to federal government action in February, the Merchants Bank of California closed the accounts of all Somali-American Money Transfer Operators due to issues surrounding federal money laundering and terrorism financing regulations. Thousands of Somalis in Seattle are now unable to send money back to their families to help with basic needs such as food, water, shelter, and education.

“We want to do everything we can to help our Somali community and make all resources available in our advocacy strategy to implement changes at the federal level,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell , chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology committee . “This is a complex problem, but we must find a way for families both here and there to safely and securely exchange money.”

“This is a humanitarian issue affecting hard working Somali families in Seattle,” said Mayor Ed Murray . “We will explore all options to assist the Somali community as they try to help their loved ones in Somalia. I’m hopeful we can work with federal officials and local financial institutions to find the right solution.”

“Finding ways to safely and securely send money back to family in Somalia is incredibly important to our Somali residents here in Seattle, and the City must explore every angle to help facilitate those transactions,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “We have got to find a solution or countless people in Somalia will continue to suffer as this critical aid to their economy is shut off.”

Resolution 31578 reaffirms the City of Seattle’s support of Somali communities to continue sending remittances to Somalia and the Horn of Africa. It alsospecifically calls on the City of Seattle to help facilitate a stronger relationship between our Somali residents and local lending institutions and credit unions in order achieve access to capital and credit.

Seattle has one of the biggest Somali communities in the United States, many of whom were refugees. Each year, Somalia receives approximately $1.3 billion in remittances from the United States and more than 730,000 people in Somalia are dependent on this financial assistance lifeline.

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Making Internet Affordable for our Communities:  Comcast’s “Internet Essentials”

Making Internet Affordable for our Communities: Comcast’s “Internet Essentials”

Posted on 17 December 2014 by admin

An estimated 40,000 Somalis live in the Seattle area, a majority in South King County. Of the foreign-born population in Seattle, 5.4 percent are from Africa, Continue Reading

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OneAmerica

OneAmerica Applauds King County Council for Passing Living Wage Ordinance

Posted on 09 October 2014 by admin

OneAmerica

The King County Council took a major step toward income equality on Monday by passing an ordinance ensuring all King County workers and workers of companies who contract with King County will receive a higher wage.

The ordinance raises the minimum wage in King County in a manner similar to the minimum wage increases passed this summer in Seattle and gives workers, immigrants, and other communities relief from skyrocketing rents and a rapidly increasing cost of living.

OneAmerica congratulates the King County Council for passing this progressive legislation.

“This is great news, coming on the heels of our victory for a $15 per hour minimum wage in Seattle,” Rich Stolz, Executive Director of OneAmerica, said. “This ordinance sends a strong message to our immigrant, minority, and worker communities that they are not getting left behind and that they will continue to have a place in King County.”

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One on One with Sally Clark on Taxi, For Hire, and TNCs!

One on One with Sally Clark on Taxi, For Hire, and TNCs!

Posted on 25 March 2014 by admin

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 Runta News had the opportunity to speak with Sally Clark after the Seattle City Council passed a new bill regulating the new app-based Continue Reading

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