Uber called its recent union deal ‘historic.’ A new complaint alleges it was actually against the law.
Earlier reports that Uber had agreed to a union deal worth up to US$17 million were quickly dismissed as ‘fake news’ on The Information and CNN. The former suggested the companies were actually fighting the union, and CNN claimed the deal had been negotiated before the company’s relationship with labor was severed in November 2016.
Both reports have since been revealed to be untrue. Uber’s deal with US and Canadian drivers was reportedly agreed before the dispute began, and only came into being after it was officially terminated last November. The International Trade Commission confirmed that a complaint had been filed against Uber, alleging that the company had committed illegal behavior after the company’s relationship with drivers broke down.
A spokesman for the International Trade Commission (ITC) said that his “office has received a complaint against Uber,” adding that “there is nothing about the complaint itself or its substance that would prevent a public agency from handling the complaint.”
“On July 23, International Trade Commission officials began a conference call with representatives of Uber and three individuals with knowledge of the dispute,” according to a statement from the agency. “When the call ended on July 25, the officials left the office. The agency has not received any follow-up information from Uber since that time.”
In its complaint, the US Department of Labor said that the ITC agreed to the deal on August 24 last year, and that it only began to review the agreement on August 30. The US Department of Labor described the agreement as illegal as it amounted to a “scheme to fix and maintain the terms of the drivers’ collective-bargaining agreement to ensure the continuation of Uber’s illegal conduct.”
“This agreement is a transparent attempt by Uber to gain unfair advantage by fixing the terms of this collective bargaining agreement, including the amount drivers would receive in any subsequent negotiation, and to maintain the status quo of the existing arrangement,” said the complaint. “These terms, which are illegal under the National Labor Relations Act, are designed to maintain the status quo of the current arrangement.”
Uber’s latest union deal came just a day after the company and the ITC clashed over