Mike Bradley, Oakland
Re: “What happens to Uber and Lyft drivers once AB 5 passes?” Sept. 5, 2019
Unions don’t need collective bargaining to negotiate with employers of independent contractors. They can negotiate agreements that are very much like the ones employers have signed with social justice nonprofits in which employers agree to certain behavior.
The agreement establishes the terms the employer will extend to all independent contractors of a given kind, such as all gig drivers or all freelance writers. Only the union and employer are parties to the agreement and the only sanction is breach of contract. The agreement covers all contractors of the given kind, not union members alone, and there is no collective bargaining of the kind prohibited by federal law. Contractors will continue to negotiate personally on their own behalfs without union representation but with knowledge of the behavior the employer agreed to.
Some unions have negotiated contracts like this. It’s innovative but it’s not rocket science.