Ever since electric scooters first start popping up in cities, the micro-mobility tech companies have pretty much roamed freely, dodging a lot of the social responsibilities that many traditional transportation companies have had to consider. But if some of the recent moves involving the now Ford-owned Spin are any indication of what lies ahead, social responsibility might soon become a normal mode of operation for all electric scooter companies.
- Spin is poised to become the first electric scooter company to unionize, as part of its pitch to operate in San Francisco.
- Unionizing would be a shift from its heavy usage of independent contractors in the past.
- The e-scooter company has also made a commitment to include a number of community initiatives in its plan.
Spin wants to operate in San Francisco, so it’s pitching itself as the most socially responsible scooter share firm. (Photo: Spin)
Joining the Teamsters
The electric scooter company Spin is taking a rather groundbreaking approach to trying to operate in San Francisco. Spin, which is among 11 e-scooter companies vying for a permit from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, says it has entered into an agreement with Teamsters Joint Council 7, a California based union that represents 100,000 workers across the state.
The decision to use unionized workers comes less than a year after Ford bought the e-scooter company in 2018 for $100 million, a move that many have speculated could significantly impact the micro-mobility services. In the past, Spin, like many other electric scooter companies, has come under fire for relying heavily on independent contractors to charge its devices.
Spin has also made a commitment to San Francisco’s First Source program, a community initiative that seeks to provide qualified residents from disadvantage neighborhoods the first opportunity to apply and interview for jobs. In addition, the tech company has outlined plans to implement a number of community outreach initiatives for users and non-users of the service.
WHY THIS MATTERS
As more startups look to capitalize on the growing interest in mobility, it’s becoming clear that some companies have been less inclined to make social responsibility a part of their operations. This recent news involving Spin suggests that moves like Ford’s acquisition of the e-scooter company could prove pivotal in helping to shape the social landscape of mobility for decades to come, given the level of commitment mainstays like Ford are accustomed to making to social initiatives.