California’s Robotaxi Opposition Joins Forces To Advocate For Responsible AV Legislation


In a surprising move, two major organizations that have been vocal opponents of robotaxi expansion in California have announced a new partnership to advocate for “responsible guardrails on autonomous vehicles.” The partnership between Teamsters 856 and Rideshare Drivers United (RDU) aims to ensure public safety and protect driving jobs in the face of increasing robotaxi presence.

Key Takeaway

Two prominent groups in California, Teamsters 856 and Rideshare Drivers United (RDU), have joined forces to oppose the expansion of robotaxis in the state. They are advocating for responsible regulations that prioritize public safety and protect jobs in the transportation industry, including rideshare drivers, truckers, and other related professions. The partnership aims to raise awareness and gain support for their cause through rallies and advocacy efforts.

Concerns About AV Safety and Job Security

The partnership between Teamsters 856 and RDU comes at a time when robotaxi companies like Waymo and Cruise are facing both support and opposition as they expand their operations. Cruise, backed by GM, recently faced scrutiny after one of its robotaxis struck a pedestrian, leading the company to temporarily halt its commercial driverless operations to rebuild public trust.

Along with advocating for responsible robotaxi regulations, Teamsters and RDU are also concerned about the potential impact of autonomous vehicles on job security. They argue that AVs have the potential to threaten a wide range of jobs in the transportation industry, including app-based drivers, long-haul truckers, and bus and sanitation workers. They are calling for laws that protect rideshare drivers’ compensation and working conditions.

Advocating for Local Decision-Making

One of the main goals of Teamsters 856 and RDU is to ensure that transportation laws at the state level provide local communities with the ability to make decisions. They believe that elected officials should have a say in regulating AVs, rather than appointed regulators who may be disconnected from the needs and desires of the people.

Reaching Out for Support

RDU currently has 20,000 California drivers as members, while Teamsters 856 represents 17,000 workers in the state. Both organizations have recently participated in rallies focused on autonomous vehicles in San Francisco and Los Angeles County. They plan to continue their efforts by organizing more rallies across the United States to bring attention to the challenges posed by AVs.

Industry Responses

When asked about the partnership, a spokesperson from Cruise emphasized that the company’s safety record outperforms comparable human drivers. They also highlighted Cruise’s industry-first jobs agreements with local labor unions to support their growing all-electric service. Waymo, on the other hand, reiterated their commitment to working transparently with policymakers and stakeholders.

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