Decision to Expand Robotaxi Operations in San Francisco Underscores Need for Federal Oversight
John Samuelsen, International President of the Transport Workers Union of America, issues this statement in response to a decision by the California Public Utilities Commission to expand robotaxi operations in San Francisco:
“It is glaringly clear that the California Public Utilities Commission, which is made up entirely of appointees from Governor Newsom, has been captured by tech interests, and has little regard for public safety or the economic effects of its decisions. On any given day, automated vehicle-related crashes, close calls, or system breakdowns cause chaos and threaten safety in San Francisco, and the people of this community have made it clear how fed up they are with unregulated technology running amok in their streets. Yet, instead of basing a decision on facts, public opinion, or a review of existing technology, the Commission is barreling forward with an expansion of dangerous, unregulated automated vehicle operations.
“States must stop greenlighting dangerous experimentation on their streets simply because tech interests are pushing a false narrative about the safety and quality of their driverless transportation vehicles. The Commission’s ill-advised decision underscores the urgent need for a federal framework to be rolled out by the U.S. Department of Transportation that ensures the standardized development and safe deployment of AVs, while protecting good jobs and labor standards. Rigorous federal oversight is needed now before more states permit AV companies to use their own citizens as test dummies.”
The TWU represents more than 155,000 workers across the airline, railroad, transit, universities, utilities and service sectors. The TWU is the largest airline workers union in the United States.