N.B.: Sharon Block and Benjamin Sachs posted a response to Part II of Veena Dubal’s pieces (here’s Part I) comparing solidarity unionism with company unions. In the spirit of debate, we’re cross-posting from On Labor.
Sharon Block and Benjamin Sachs –
In her second post on the Uber/Lyft drivers’ association, Veena Dubal rightly celebrates the success of the recent Uber/Lyft work stoppages. The example of workers, who have no labor or employment law rights, engaging in the kind of collective action that she describes is inspirational. Dubal also raises some important criticisms of the IDG, criticisms we take very seriously.
As Dubal recognizes, however, none of the actions by Uber and Lyft drivers have yielded collective bargaining rights, yet. So the question is what is the best path forward toward the securing of those rights. We agree with Dubal that winning union status and collective bargaining power at Uber and Lyft will depend critically on the continuation of the kind of solidarity actions that Dubal describes. But, in our view, a fundamental reshaping of labor law (at the state or federal level) will also be necessary. Unfortunately, even if an “uncompromised” version of California AB 5 passes, that won’t get us there. Although that bill would constitute enormous progress, it would not on its own equip Uber and Lyft drivers to organize and bargain collectively.