Uber drivers are turning to the Teamsters in their bid for benefits.

Teamsters Joint Council 7, a California transportation union that represents 100,000 employees in the state, has announced plans to form an association for Uber drivers who are seeking benefits, a dispute resolution procedure, legal and tax services and advocacy assistance.

“We welcome any Uber drivers seeking to improve their working conditions. By coming together, the Teamsters will help these drivers have a stronger voice and improve standards for ride-share drivers in California,” said Rome Aloise, international vice-president at Teamsters and president of Joint Council 7.

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The decision follows the settlement of a class action lawsuit between the ride-sharing company and its drivers in California and Massachusetts last week. The lawsuit determined that drivers are independent contractors rather than employees.

“The key issue at stake in both cases is whether drivers using the Uber app should be classified as independent contractors or employees,” said Uber in a statement. “Drivers value their independence — the freedom to push a button rather than punch a clock, to use Uber and Lyft simultaneously, to drive most of the week or for just a few hours.

“That’s why we are so pleased that this settlement recognizes that drivers should remain as independent contractors, not employees.”

Under the deal, Uber will pay the plaintiffs $84 million and another $16 million if the company goes public and meets certain goals, according to The Associated Press.

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Teamsters Joint Council 7 has already formed an association for Uber drivers in Seattle.

In the past, the union has negotiated benefits contracts for drivers from technology companies such as Facebook, Yahoo and Apple.

Copyright © 2021 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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