In the shadow of the COVID-19 global pandemic and a world-wide effort to reduce the virus’s spread, we, as drivers for companies like Lyft & Uber, are at great risk of both contagion and poverty. For those of us who have continued to drive, our income has dropped by 80%, and we risk both personal exposure and spreading the virus. Just a few days into the crisis, most of us are vulnerable to homelessness and unable to meet the most basic needs for ourselves and our families.
Policymakers and employers in all 50 states are rushing to provide benefits to workers in many sectors to decrease exposure risk and help workers whose jobs have essentially shut down. But our employers--Uber and Lyft--have made no such moves. Although we are clearly employees under AB5, Uber and Lyft maintain that we have no access to employee paid sick leave, to disability protections, and to unemployment insurance.
Rideshare Drivers United and the undersigned, on behalf of all misclassified California workers in the face of this global crisis, make the following demands of the state and of our employers.
From our State Administrative Agencies, we demand:
- An expedited process for immediate access & pay out of unemployment insurance.
- A standardized, rapid process to resolve the thousands of wage claims for unpaid wages and expenses on behalf of all misclassified workers that have been filed against these companies and other companies that engage in this illegal business model.
- Immediate action by the state to acquire the wage data that companies are withholding as well as pursuit of unpaid wages and unpaid taxes to the UI fund.
- Immediate enforcement of paid sick leave requirements and a clear process for misclassified drivers to enforce their rights.
From our City & State Legislators, we demand the passage of legislation that will provide:
- A temporary basic income for all independent contractors and misclassified workers who have little to no work during this pandemic.
- The extension of paid sick leave to at least 4 weeks.
- A statewide eviction moratorium until the end of the crisis.
From Uber and Lyft, we demand that the companies:
- Immediately withdraw the ballot initiative to create a gig worker carveout to AB5. Such a referendum is a danger to drivers and the public.
- Reallocate the $110 million dollars for the AB5 referendum to create an emergency driver relief fund.
- Cease all appeals for driver unemployment insurance claims.
- Follow all California employment laws now.
- Quickly process and pay wages of workers who have filed with the Labor Commissioner.
These are not optional demands; the lives of hundreds of thousands of California families are at risk. Every day that action is not taken means more and more drivers face starvation, homelessness, and other deprivations of human rights.
Take action now.