City Of Oakland To Hear Councilmember Kaplan’s Proposals On Labor Unions, Uber Tax

The City of Oakland Rules and Legislation Committee of the Oakland City Council will hear two important items this Thursday, June 29: a resolution urging the Oakland City Administration to continue to work with public labor unions post a Janus decision, and a proposal to tax Transportation Network Company (TNC), such as Uber and Lyft (nicknamed the “Uber Tax”).

The Janus decision Resolution is being proposed by city-wide Councilmember Kaplan and co-sponsored by Councilmembers Noel Gallo (District 5) and Dan Kalb (District 1). In February 2018, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in the Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 case, which could overturn the precedent set by the Abood v. Detroit Board of Education case in 1977, which allowed public sector unions to require “fair-share” fees from non-members that benefit from the union’s collective bargaining activities. The Supreme Court has not made a decision on the case, but many cities and organizations are passing Resolutions urging for the continued partnerships with public unions no matter what the outcome of Janus.

Councilmember Kaplan states, “If the current precedent is overturned, unions could be restricted from requiring “fair-share” fees from nonmembers, thereby weakening the unions’ power to effectively negotiate on behalf of all public sector workers and to promote policies that protect workers’ rights, fair wages, and safer working conditions.” Others in the Bay Area that have already passed similar Resolutions, include the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, San Francisco Board of Supervisors and AC Transit.

The Rules Committee will hear this proposal on Thursday, June 28th commencing at 10:45am in the Oakland City Council Chamber, 3rd floor of Oakland City Hall.

Councilmember Kaplan is also proposing a ballot measure to tax Transportation Network Company (TNC) trips,which the memo can be read here, that would impose a 50-cents per pickup charge on TNC trips originating within the City of Oakland, and authorize City Council to adopt by Ordinance reductions in the rate, such as for “pool” (multi-user) trips, low-income passengers, and late night rides. Currently, TNC trips do not pay taxes to the city of Oakland. Other jurisdictions have begun to impose fees and/or taxes on the trips of TNCs. This is similar to the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) that is collected and remitted by Airbnb from hosts, in which the company collects and remits the tax to the City.

Councilmember Kaplan says, “I’ve encouraged Oakland to ensure tax fairness and adequate revenue for vital public needs, by working to make sure that we tax those goods/services that have not been paying taxes. Using an internet app to provide a good or service should not allow those businesses to avoid paying taxes while the rest of the community pays. We have successfully fought for fair tax collection for short-term residential rentals, cannabis businesses, and others who were not paying taxes previously – to help ensure public services are funded. The proposed TNC per-trip tax of a maximum of 50 cents per ride, is the same amount charged in Portland, Oregon, and less than the amount charged in Chicago. We are also proposing that shared “pool” trips pay a lower rate. Many other jurisdictions throughout the United States do put a charge on TNC trips. If adopted, the City Council would have authority to amend or reduce the tax, but not to increase it.”

Kaplan’s TNC proposal will be heard tomorrow, Tuesday June 27 at Finance Committee and on Thursday June 29 at the Rules and Legislation Committee.

Oakland Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan was elected in 2008 to serve as Oakland’s citywide Councilmember. Kaplan was re-elected in 2012 and 2016. She also serves on the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC).

Follow Councilmember Kaplan on Twitter @Kaplan4Oakland and Facebook.

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