Belabored Podcast #94: Disrupting Uber

Belabored Podcast #94: Disrupting Uber

New legislation in Seattle could pave the way for Uber drivers to unionize. We explore the legal and political road ahead with Rebecca Smith of the National Employment Law Project and Takele Gobena of the App-Based Drivers Association.

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Uber has taken over the taxi markets of cities around the globe with its infamously “disruptive” business model. But the aggressively expanding rideshare service may soon get routed in Seattle, thanks to legislation that would pave the way for for-hire drivers to unionize. By allowing both rideshare app users as well as traditional cabbies to collectively bargain, the new law could establish a framework for disrupting the “gig economy” and empowering the rank-and-file drivers. We speak with Rebecca Smith of the National Employment Law Project and Takele Gobena of the App-Based Drivers Association in Seattle to explore the legal and political road ahead for labor organizing in the “On Demand” economy.

Plus news from the latest legal battle over graduate student unionization, prayer at work for Muslims in Colorado, hijab on campus and tenure politics, and dueling Fights for $15 in New York, and recommended reading on middle-class myths and the drug war at work.


Cuomo strikes deal to raise SUNY minimum wage to $15 an hour (Buffalo Sun Times)

De Blasio To Raise All City Workers’ Minimum Wage To $15/Hour (Gothamist)

NLRB grants review of Columbia grad students’ petition to unionize (Columbia Spectator)

GWC-UAW Local 2110, National Labor Relations Board Hearings (GWC-UAW Local 2110)

Michelle: Are Graduate Students ‘Workers’? (The Nation)

AAUP faculty group seeks inquiry on College of Saint Rose cuts (Times Union)

Carolyn Stefanco and the Administration: Rescind or Resign (

Wheaton professor denounces efforts to fire her (Chicago Tribune)

Dr. Larycia Hawkins

Cargill employees walk out of Fort Morgan plant Monday (Fort Morgan Times)

Cargill: Tried to resolve issues before firing Colorado Muslim workers (Denver Post)

Michelle: 180 Muslim Workers Were Fired for Taking ‘Prayer Breaks’ (The Nation)


Rights on Demand: Ensuring Workplace Standards and Worker Security In the On-Demand Economy (NELP)

App-Based Drivers Association

Michelle Could Unions Disrupt Uber’s Empire? (The Nation)

Socialize Uber (The Nation)

Argh, I Wish I’d Written That!

Sarah: Bryce Covert, $250,000 a Year Is Not Middle Class (New York Times)

Michelle: Daniel Engber, Why Do Employers Still Routinely Drug-Test Workers? (Slate)