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Rideshare Drivers’ Safety Complaint Against Lyft & Uber Results in CalOSHA Extending Workplace Protections to Gig Workers
Last week, we scored a big victory on behalf of California drivers! In February, over 2000 drivers and supporters signed our petition to stop Lyft from forcing drivers to accept shared rides during a COVID surge. When Lyft wouldn't take our petition, we filed safety complaints with CalOSHA against both Lyft and Uber.  Thanks to our collective power, on August 1st, CalOSHA issued citations against Lyft and Uber for violations of COVID safety guidelines. This is a BIG step forward for drivers in California, as this is the first time a state safety agency is asserting that app drivers are worthy of the same workplace protections as any other worker. Yet even now, both Lyft and Uber are again breaking the law by not notifying drivers about these citations, as required under California law. It is more important than ever that we hold the companies accountable for their failure to take responsibility for keeping their drivers safe by getting this information out as broadly as possible. RDU will continue to fight for the dignity and safety for all drivers, and together we will WIN! Spread the word! Facebook Link on CalOSHA Citation Twitter Link on CalOSHA Citation Official OSHA Posting on Citations https://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/establishment.inspection_detail?id=1594664.015 https://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/establishment.inspection_detail?id=1594663.015 ==== Press Release and Citation Letters sent to RDU below LOS ANGELES - On August 1st, 2022, CalOSHA cited Lyft and Uber for COVID safety violations, in response to complaints filed by rideshare drivers in February of this year.  The citation enumerated the following violations: Failure to provide, free of cost, face coverings and gloves to drivers, forcing drivers to spend their limited funds to provide PPE for themselves.  Failure to include drivers in their Injury and Illness Protection Programs for workforce members. While the drivers’ complaint included the fact that they had not been paid for time spent sanitizing vehicles between passengers, CalOSHA referred those issues - and other issues related to compensation for PPE - to the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement in California. This is the first time that a state safety agency has extended workplace protections to gig workers, and challenges the companies’ that they have no responsibility to ensure safety of drivers.    “Finally Uber and Lyft are being held accountable for their lack of attention to drivers’ and passengers’ health and safety in the name of greed,” said Roberto Moreno, a rideshare driver from San Diego, one of the claimants against both Lyft and Uber.  “I am especially thankful that CalOSHA will extend their vail of protection to all drivers. No multimillion dollar corporation is above workers’ rights.” “I am relieved that a public agency is working in support of the safety of rideshare drivers. But so far Uber & Lyft have not publicly posted to their drivers that indeed we have rights to things like PPE,” said Daniel Russell, one of the drivers who filed the complaints with CalOSHA. Companies are required to post notice when they receive safety violations, under CA Labor Code.  During the pandemic, thousands of California app drivers - defined as essential workers - have been impacted by COVID-19, risking health and life with every ride they give. Many have caught COVID and some drivers have died as a result.  In February 2022, more than 2,000 members of Rideshare Drivers United, drivers, and their supporters signed and delivered a petition to Lyft in response to Lyft’s re-introduction of shared rides during a dangerous COVID surge, increasing both customers’ and drivers’ risks of catching the disease.  Lyft would not accept the petition at their Monrovia field office, so drivers delivered it to a nearby CalOSHA office where they filed complaints against both Lyft and Uber for failure to keep drivers safe during the pandemic.
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Drivers Sue to Block Uber, Lyft’s Illegal Price Fixing!
June 21, 2022 Today, three drivers filed a lawsuit in California to stop illegal price fixing by Uber and Lyft.  Rideshare Drivers United worked with the non-profit worker rights law firm, Towards Justice, to bring the lawsuit to light. RDU is not a plaintiff in the case and we stand strongly behind these drivers. The drivers who have brought the lawsuit are seeking to represent a class of all of us drivers who have opted out of the companies’ arbitration clauses. As drivers we have known for a long time that Uber and Lyft maintain all the power in our business relationship. The lawyers helped drivers identify that Uber and Lyft are violating antitrust laws, meaning they are creating unfair competition by controlling drivers, where we go, and what we earn, and they do this every day. Uber and Lyft are price-fixing. We see it in our day to day work. Uber and Lyft fix driver pay and customer prices, withhold key fare and destination data from drivers a majority of the time, and maintain payment schemes that effectively require drivers to work when and where Uber and Lyft want. Uber and Lyft are taking more per ride than ever before, while gas prices skyrocket. We are seeing them take up to 80% when it used to be 25%. And customers are paying more, but we are making less.  As we know, Prop 22 legalized misclassification. So at a time when our pay is at its lowest and gas prices are at their highest, drivers need immediate relief. We stand strongly behind the courageous drivers who are the lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit and are taking action NOW. Help us push out support for drivers Esterphanie St. Juste, Taje Gill and Ben Valdez on social media. Here are some links to read and share.  HereHere are the social media links that we posted. Please re-post! Facebook: NYT Article FB Post ; Plaintiff Post IG link: IG NYT Article Post ; IG Plaintiff Post Twitter: NYT Article Tweet ; Plaintiff Tweet Here is our very nuts and bolts breakdown on the case + Digi Toolkit: Driver Anti-Trust Lawsuit - Briefing & Digi Toolkit For regular updates and additional media and social media links, here is a link to this web page: https://www.drivers-united.org/anti-trust-lawsuit  Press release from the law firm filing the case, Towards Justice: https://towardsjustice.org/2022/06/21/press-release-drivers-sue-to-block-uber-lyfts-illegal-price-fixing Here is the complaint: https://towardsjustice.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Uber-Lyft-Complaint.6.20.2022-3.pdf  For more info on legal arguments related to anti trust violations in this industry: https://lpeproject.org/blog/the-antitrust-case-against-gig-economy-labor-platforms/ We are thankful for the huge community of driver members and allies staying focused through this hard fight, never doubting that together we can win fair pay and a real voice for drivers in our industry. Forever Forward - Fight Together Till We Win! :: Rideshare Drivers United
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UPDATES FROM BEHIND THE WHEEL
CALIFORNIA //  April 2022  CAMPAIGN UPDATE// //Driver’s Win! Lyft Cancels Shared Rides after Driver Protest By Tyler Sandness (Driver Since 2018)  In early January, drivers in both San Diego and Los Angeles received notices from Lyft that they would be piloting a restart of their shared rides program. Already disdained by drivers as low earning rides with high mileage, shared rides posed a massive threat to drivers during a time when over 500 Californians were dying from Covid-19 per day! Outraged by the lack of concerns for our very lives, drivers throughout the state demanded better. Over 2000 drivers from all across California signed our petition, demanding an immediate end to the shared rides program and that the companies compensate us for the time and materials we spent to sanitize our vehicles for the protection of ourselves and customers. On February 2nd, some draped in homemade “haz-mat suits”, members of the RDU safety committee delivered our petition to the Lyft hub in Monrovia. The company representatives denied taking our petition, claiming, “We are here to help drivers,” while members of the committee shouted, “We are Drivers!” Despite not taking our petition, the 15 members drove to the Monrovia Cal Osha office and delivered our petition, along with a formal complaint that Lyft had violated safety guidelines by denying workers paid time to sanitize our cars, and allowing more than two customers at a time. Soon after delivering the petition, CBS Los Angeles reported that Lyft was canceling their shared rides program for the foreseeable future. Since then, a formal complaint was also filed against Uber for the same violations and both are pending with Cal-OSHA.  This action was a demonstration of the lack of concern the companies have towards us, but also the power drivers have when we work together and make our voices heard!      EXPOSING PROP 22 // //Prop 22 Spreading Globally Despite Being Found Unconstitutional in CA  By Daniel Russell (Driver since 2016)   We knew Prop 22 was bad for drivers despite what the companies claimed. We knew they were lying to the public and drivers to get their own way. They spent more money spreading these lies than has ever been spent on a ballot proposition in the history of the USA, more than $220 million to write their own law. Allowing them to pay us as little as possible legally, while stripping us of our basic labor rights through our misclassification as independent contractors.   Now, with Prop 22 in effect, it’s very clear that their law gave drivers nothing and gave them the right to do whatever they want. With Prop 22 in effect, the companies have continued to manipulate fares at will and are taking an increasing percentage of the fare from drivers. Prop 22 has even been found unconstitutional by the California court system, yet these companies continue to ignore our most basic worker rights.   Now, the rideshare corporations are trying to duplicate their unjust law in other parts of the country. They are moving a new Proposition 22-style measure on the ballot in Massachusetts and have started similar efforts in other states. It is important that we continue our fight against Prop 22 here in California in an effort to expose these companies and let drivers know everywhere that these company-written laws are bad for drivers and are nothing more than multinational corporations writing their own rules and regulations so they can exploit workers with no accountability.   This is a fight that we must continue not only on behalf of drivers but all labor. Just recently, a potential Prop-22 style measure was put forward in CA that would strip healthcare workers deployed by apps of their labor rights. This is why thousands of workers from all industries came out to support us in our fight against Proposition 22. Prop 22 is an attack on all working people and especially on underprivileged and underrepresented communities most vulnerable to exploitation.    It is imperative that we continue as drivers to find ways to expose and bring attention to how we are algorithmically managed to ensure minimum pay and maximum effort. It is imperative that we show drivers and workers across the world that Prop 22 in California was nothing more than a corporation creating loopholes to allow them to act with impunity against the interest of their workers. It is essential that we continue to work together to bring drivers and our voices to the forefront of our industry.  FIGHTING FOR DRIVERS NOW!//  //Sign the GAS PRICE PETITION TODAY: https://www.drivers-united.org/gas-price-petition   //Gas Vs. Electric: Drivers United Members Weigh In On State Policy by Alvaro Bolainez  (Driver since 2012)     No time like the present with gas prices skyrocketing to make everyone want to convert to an electric vehicle. But after the price of an EV, the time it takes to charge the car, and that many of the places we live don’t allow home charging, it’s not an easy fix.    The state of California has passed new laws that require rideshare companies to convert to all-electric fleets by 2030. The State thought they would create incentives for Lyft and Uber to convert their fleets.   So RDU got involved in efforts to ensure incentives went to drivers, not the companies.  “Whose cars do they think they are?” asked Nicole Moore, President of RDU. “The way they wrote the law, it was as if they thought companies would actually be able to make that change, and it would be all fair. We got in there to let the state know that we finance every penny of the fleet - cars, fuel, depreciation, maintenance - and if they give incentives to the companies, it’s likely we as drivers will never see them.”   Through hours of meetings that included RDU members speaking to CAIR and CPUC in public hearings, working in coalition with other unions and environmental groups in the Blue Green Alliance, as well as talking to members about their experiences with electric vehicles, RDU delivered a set of principles to the CPUC to support drivers in conversion to electric.   “I think the most important thing is our position that any money the State uses to help convert the fleet needs to come to drivers, directly from the government,” said Alvaro Bolainez. “If the money goes through the companies, it’s like a shell game - and we won’t see the money.”    To see the text of the bill RDU is weighing in on how to implement: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB1014  RDU’s principles for EV Conversion for app-based drivers are available here: Principles for EV Conversion - RDU to CPUC.pdf Coverage on our EV Conversion Fight: https://www.wired.com/story/california-evs-uber-lyft/  GROWING OUR UNION //  //Get more involved - help build our driver union! Join RDU as a Contributing Member We are a driver led organization and when you step up to lead we are stronger. In particular members who can help us hold meetings in other languages help increase involvement of drivers of all backgrounds. If you want to take the next step to help organize our path to victory, there are a number of things you can do: Sign-up for an organizer training: where you will learn the basics of our organizing, including how we do driver outreach, to build a strong network of drivers - and how each driver organizer helps build his/her own community of driver members. Sign up here! https://www.drivers-united.org/organzing-training Join RDU as a Contributing Member: $15/month helps pay for our phone calls and servers and all the expenses to wage our DRIVERS FIGHT, and you become a voting member of RDU. Sign up here to join: https://www.drivers-united.org/membership-contributions   // RDU San Diego Pilots Rideshare Riders Webpage By Roberto Moreno (Driver since 2015) Have you had a customer who is curious about what it’s really like working for rideshare? Have you had those conversations where customers complain that they are being charged so much, even though you, the driver, are only getting 20% of the fare? For a long time, Drivers have struggled to talk with our customers about the realities of our industry and what challenges drivers face. This is what inspired the RDU San Diego committee to do something about it! The committee created the Rideshare Riders United webpage: a digital resource directed at customers, busting many of the Myths riders have about rideshare. The page also contains tips for how customers can show their appreciation to drivers, and even how to support independent driver organizations like RDU. San Diego RDU is also experimenting with including a QR code that links directly to the webpage which can be taped in the back seat of the car, giving customers an easy way to access the site. As RDU works to expand its membership this year, we are keeping a close eye on this program, with a vision to send a copy of the QR code to every member throughout California! Rideshare Drivers United - Join Us! - http://drivers-united.org
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Lyft Shared Rides Flash Action Results
Lyft Shared Rides Flash Action Results Yesterday, the RDU Safety Committee issued our demands to Lyft that they cancel the shared rides program, with 2,100 Southern California drivers signed onto the RDU petition. When we delivered it to the Monrovia Hub employees, they refused to accept the petition! But we learned on the news that Lyft is suspending shared rides due to Omicron for the foreseeable future! This is a powerful victory for drivers, and further proof that the way that we can change this industry for the better is by thousands of us demanding change.   We still have a live complaint with Cal/OSHA and have asked them to investigate Lyft’s Covid safety protocols. There is still much more to fight for: Drivers need PPE at the company's expense, and need to be paid for the time we spend to sanitize our vehicles after every ride to keep both ourselves and our customers safe.    This petition came from concerns of driver members like you who got the email from Lyft announcing shared rides and shared it with RDU. It’s powerful that drivers made this happen. As Rideshare Drivers United, together we will continue to fight for health and safety for every driver, as well as fair pay and the respect that every driver deserves.    
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