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Uber stops short of union with NYC drivers guild

The new organization, the first of its kind for Uber, represents the interests of 35,000 New York drivers.

Roberto Machado Noa, LightRocket via Getty Images

Uber drivers now have an organization in New York to represent their interests. Just don't call it a union.

The ride-hailing company unveiled an agreement Tuesday with the International Association of Machinists establishing the Independent Drivers Guild.

The guild is the first organization of its kind to receive the official blessing of Uber, although a number of unsanctioned organizations exist already.

The move is seen as an attempt by Uber to stem concerns about its labor model, which treats drivers as independent contractors, with fewer rights than employees. The Guild isn't a true union -- its members will still be contractors -- but members will receive representation from guild officials, and other benefits like insurance discounts.

On the other hand, members will not be able to negotiate over a contract that includes fares, benefits and protections. Those determinations will still be made by Uber alone.

Uber did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Uber advisor David Plouffe told The New York Times that the company is not seeking to replicate the guild area outside of New York, which has a large number of full-time Uber drivers.