Uber is Not Happy

Oregon AFL-CIO Weekly Update: Uber is Not Happy
April 11, 2018

“Uber is Not Happy”

Seattle’s City Council voted yesterday to take a closer look at ride-hailing services or transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber & Lyft. The vote in Seattle is a part of a growing movement to monitor and locally regulate TNCs. Similar efforts are underway in cities across Oregon, including Portland.

As a news article covering Seattle’s vote points out, Uber is not happy. The multi-billion dollar company claims the actions of Seattle City Council will increase fees for riders but as the article points out, that’s not the case:

“Today’s vote, however, did not raise per-mile rates for Uber, Lyft, conventional taxis, or anyone else. It just signaled an intent to raise the base fare. The legislation directs City Council to “consider legislation to establish a set of minimum charges across all segments of the for-hire transportation industry to ensure fair market access to all participants,” and brings raising base fare (not per-mile fare) from $1.35 to $2.40 as an option to consider, but doesn’t codify any specific changes to pricing structure.”

Uber’s outrage appears to be out of concern for their profit margins, which leave many of their drivers earning much lower than the company advertises. A driver who testified at Seattle City Council shared their perspective on rates and compensation:

“Drivers sometimes work 12 to 15 hours a day to make less than minimum wage.”

Another driver who keeps track of their earnings suggested that Uber may be misleading lawmakers about drivers’ earnings:

“I drive 40 hours a week... I don’t make minimum wage. It’s been a long time in my life tomorrow you’re going to be hearing from a bunch of Uber drivers saying they’re making $100,000 a year. I’m going to leave [a breakdown of my earnings] with you. I’m going to ask them to do the same.”


Do you live in Portland? Please take a moment to support TNC drivers and impacted members of the community who are asking Portland City Council for a voice in the way TNCs operate in the city. Here’s how you can help:

11 Things to Know about Equal Pay Day

Yesterday was Equal Pay Day, a day which calls attention to the persistent moral and economic injustice working women face. For a woman to earn as much as a man, she must work a full year, plus more than a hundred extra days, all the way to April 10. The problem is even worse for women of color, LGBTQ women and part-time workers.

Here are 11 things you need to know on Equal Pay Day:

1. Equal Pay Day for women of color is even later: For black women, Equal Pay Day comes later because they are paid, on average, even less than white women. Equal Pay Day for black women is Aug. 7. For Native American women, it's Sept. 7. For Latinas, it's Nov. 1.

2. LGBTQ women face a host of related problems: A woman in a same-sex couple makes 79% of what a straight, white man makes. Additionally, they face higher rates of unemployment, discrimination and harassment on the job.

3. It will take decades to fix the problem if we don't act now: If nothing changes, it will take until 2059 for women to reach pay equality. For black women, parity won't come until 2124 and for Latinas, 2233.

4. Fixing the wage gap will reduce poverty: The poverty rate for women would be cut in half if the wage gap were eliminated. Additionally, 25.8 million children would benefit from closing the gap.

5. Fixing the wage gap would boost the economy: Eliminating the wage gap would increase women's earnings by $512.6 billion, a 2.8% boost to the country's gross domestic product. Women are consumers and the bulk of this new income would be injected directly into the economy.

6. Women aren't paid less because they choose to work in low-paying jobs: The gender pay gap persists in nearly every occupation, regardless of race, ethnicity, education, age and location.

7. Education alone isn't the solution: Women are paid less at every level of education. Women with advanced degrees get paid less than men with bachelor's degrees.

8. The Paycheck Fairness Act would help: This bipartisan legislation would close loopholes in existing law, break harmful patterns of pay discrimination and strengthen protections for women workers.

9. Being in union makes a difference: Women who are represented by unions and negotiate together are closer to pay equality, making 94 cents per dollar that white men make.

10. Business leaders have a role in the solution: Individual business owners and leaders have the power to close the pay gap and improve people's lives. Catalyst offers five tips on what business leaders can do.

11. Many companies already are working on solutions: Learn from them.


Urge the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to move forward on developing revised pay and data collection now. The Trump administration’s Office of Management and Budget blocked an important Obama-era equal pay initiative that would have required large corporations to report pay data by race and gender to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

We can’t end pay discrimination and close wage gaps if employers can hide the fact they are paying women and people of color less. Sign the petition urging the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to move forward on developing revised equal pay data collection now.

Nurses & Community Stand Together in
Southern Oregon

More than 200 nurses and community members came together April 10 to call on administrators at Providence Medford Medical Center to improve patient care and address the hospital’s chronic recruitment and retention problems.

“Nurses are patients’ most important advocates. It’s our professional responsibility to speak up to ensure every patient receives outstanding health care,” said Christalyn Matlock, a local Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) leader and nurse at Providence Medford Medical Center. “In order to continue providing the health care our patients deserve, Providence needs to raise staffing standards and increase local nurse recruitment and retention.”

Forty-three percent of new nurses at Providence Medford Medical Center leave after less than a year on the job. The hospital’s extreme turnover rate forces local nurses to shoulder an increasingly unhealthy workload and can jeopardize patients’ care.

Nurses and supporters held an informational picket outside Providence Medford Medical Center Tuesday, April 10 from 7 – 9 a.m. and 3:30 – 6:30 p.m.

“Seeing teachers, health care advocates and community leaders standing side-by-side with nurses speaks volumes about our community’s priorities,” said Dan Richmond, a local ONA leader and nurse at Providence Medford Medical Center. “Rogue Valley residents value the high-quality health care local nurses provide. It’s time for Providence to prove they’re committed to our community and its long-term health care.”

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) projects Oregon will have a shortage of 6,000 registered nurses by 2025 and areas like the Rogue Valley may be hit particularly hard.

Local nurses are asking Providence’s administrators to work with them now to help prevent a nurse shortage by agreeing to a new contract to improve patient care, reduce staff turnover, increase nurse recruitment and provide appropriate backup for nurses and staff during 12-hour shifts.

More than 600 concerned community members have signed a petition asking Providence administrators to work with nurses to reach a fair agreement that ensures local patients continue to receive safe, high-quality health care.


Show your support for local nurses at Providence Medford Medical Center (PMMC), who have been working for months to reach a contract agreement with the hospital that ensures our community members receive safe, appropriate health care. Click here to sign the petition.