Bay Area Ford GoBike employees vote to unionize

Workers voted 35-24 to join the Transport Workers Union of America

Those little blue Ford GoBikes are now officially union-backed bicycles.

Bay Area Ford GoBike workers voted to join the Transport Workers Union of America in an election, Thursday.

The workers voted 35-24 to approve unionizing, according to the TWU, which released the results Friday morning.

“The ultimate act of democracy in a workplace is joining a union. By voting to join the TWU, San Francisco’s bikeshare workers have greatly strengthened the economic security of families,” said TWU international President John Samuelsen in a statement.

Ford GoBike maintenance workers are employed by Motivate LLC, a spinoff of the former company Motivate, which was bought by ride-hail giant Lyft last year. Lyft operates Ford GoBike but the unionized workers are not Lyft employees, though the announcement also comes on the heels of Lyft debuting its stock on the public market.

SEE RELATED: Bay Area Ford GoBike workers to unionize

The bike rental workers’ unionization effort drew support from presidential hopeful and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, as well as the Democratic Socialists of America San Francisco chapter, the San Francisco Berniecrats and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

A Motivate LLC spokesperson, Matthew Parker, previously told the San Francisco Examiner employees are treated with respect, and that the company pays “best-in-class wages” regardless of union representation.

“Motivate fully respects the right of employees to unionize should they so choose, and equally respects the right of employees to decide that they prefer things the way things are currently, without a union,” a Motivate spokesperson said before the vote.

But Samuelson said wages are not always the paramount concern of employees at bike rental companies; scheduling and other quality of life factors are often also on the table.

San Francisco is not the first city to see Motivate workers unionize: TWU represents Motivate workers in New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, Boston, and Jersey City. In San Francisco, the TWU also represents about 2,000 Muni operators.

Transit

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