1221 SW 4th Ave. Suite 210, Portland, OR 97204
October 14, 2015— Oregon Labor Commissioner, Brad Avakian, and the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) recently issued an Advisory Opinion that finds that Uber drivers are employees under Oregon labor law (http://www.oregon.gov/boli/).
In response to the Advisory Opinion, Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick stated the following:
“I am very pleased with the Labor Commissioner’s advisory opinion. I asked him to look into this issue in June 2015, shortly after the California Labor Commission made a ruling that an Uber driver should be classified as an employee, rather than an independent contractor. The advent of TNCs provides consumers with more transportation options – which consumers have embraced in many cities, including recently here in Portland. But, I have long been concerned about the working conditions for taxi drivers and the growing trend in emerging, internet-based industries that exclude workers from the kind of protections and benefits that employees have. I think that if Commissioner Avakian’s advisory opinion is followed, Oregon can continue to foster innovation while guaranteeing basic worker protections and supporting working families.”
In January 2015, Commissioner Novick convened a 12-member community Task Force to provide guidance and recommendations about how the City of Portland’s Private For Hire Transportation (PFHT) regulatory program should evolve and respond to new developments in the industry, including the entry of transportation network companies (TNCs). It is critical that the City provide necessary safeguards and standards to protect consumers, ensure accessibility for all, and allow for a fair, competitive market for drivers and companies across all sectors of the PFHT industry.
Following a presentation of regulatory recommendations from the Task Force and a great deal of public input, Council approved the PFHT Innovation Pilot Program with revised regulations for taxi companies and new rules that allow for TNCs. The Portland Bureau of Transportation is managing and overseeing the Pilot Program, which began in April 2015. Final PFHT regulations that pertain specifically to taxi companies and TNCs are expected to be proposed in November 2015.