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Why a union’s needed

As a driver for Uber, I disagree with David Plouffe when he says that we do not need a union [“Seattle first U.S. city to give Uber, other contract drivers power to unionize,” News, Dec. 15].

Since I started driving for Uber, it has cut our pay without notice, terminated drivers without giving a reason and blocked our efforts to improve our working conditions. Many drivers now report earning less than minimum wage.

We’re not asking to get rich driving for Uber. But we are looking for fairness and the ability to earn a living wage so that we can pay the rent and put food on the table.

Drivers will now have the same rights as other workers to come together and negotiate over their pay and working conditions.

This is a good business and we love to have it in our city. We just want to have security and for the city to let us have some rights, too.

Peter Kuel, Kent

Pay will be diverted

In his guest column “Uber and other drivers want flexibility, not union bosses” [Opinion, Dec. 9], Michael Beckerman correctly highlights several reasons why the City Council’s ordinance to impose forced unionization on independent drivers is wrong for Seattle.

Yet his argument left out perhaps the most egregious consequence of the proposed ordinance: The scheme empowers union officials to force every independent driver — even those who oppose the union — to pay union dues or fees if they want to continue using apps like Uber and Lyft.

Not only will money that should be going into drivers’ pockets be diverted to union coffers, but that money may then be spent by union bosses to oppose the set-your-own-hours flexibility that attracts drivers to ridesharing apps to begin with.

Polls show Americans overwhelmingly oppose making union membership and dues payment mandatory. Expanding those forced-dues powers over independent drivers will be a big mistake.

Mark Mix, Springfield, Va., president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation