Dec 12, 2019 - Energy & Environment

Scooter company Spin's San Francisco workers unionize

Photo: Interim Archives/Getty Images

San Francisco-based maintenance workers for Spin, a scooter rental company owned by Ford, have voted to unionize and joined a local Teamsters chapter, making them the first in the scooter industry to do so.

Why it matters: Scooter companies ruffled a lot of feathers when they showed up in San Francisco (and other cities), which has long been skeptical of tech companies using independent contractors to skirt some labor costs.

  • The union vote applies to the roughly 40 workers responsible for maintenance and managing Spin's scooters available in San Francisco. Spin operates in numerous other U.S. cities, and it's unclear if workers elsewhere will also unionize.

The big picture: Spin initially began operating in San Francisco in the spring of 2018, along with rivals Bird and Lime, before all three companies were forced off the streets by regulators. In total, 12 companies subsequently applied for a year-long pilot program, though only Skip and Scoot were ultimately given a license at that stage.

Between the lines: Spin began working with the Teamsters months ago while it was waiting for the San Francisco transportation agency to issue operating permits (it did not get one for the earlier pilot program, in part for poor labor practices), as the SF Examiner reported at the time.

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