In a sign of the company’s growing strength, the company announced Friday that it has signed a $1.6 billion deal with a major union representing Uber drivers, giving it a major boost in the union’s fight to win better wages and conditions.
Uber has been under intense pressure from drivers to unionize, especially since its first contract expired in June.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and several other executives have called for the union to vote on a new contract that would pay drivers more.
The union’s campaign has been spearheaded by a group called Teamsters Local 965, which is comprised of drivers who have worked at the company for at least 15 years.
Uber is also trying to persuade workers that the new contract is better than the one they have been receiving for years, and the drivers have been vocal in their opposition.
The company also announced that it will add several new employees to its fleet over the next few weeks to help boost the company.
Uber said it expects to add more than 5,000 new drivers this year, and that it expects the union contract to become final in the next month or so.
The new contract will pay drivers an average of $15 per hour, which Uber hopes to match for most drivers by 2020.
“As we work to increase our workforce, we need to be investing in the communities where we work,” Uber said in a statement.
“The new Uber contract reflects our commitment to investing in our communities and the people we serve.”