As the state of California continues to fight for the rights and fair wages of rideshare drivers, a group of drivers staged a protest in Oakland yesterday, dubbing the event a “people’s hearing.”
A group of drivers from Gig Workers Rising, Rideshare Drivers United, and We Drive Progress rallied, demanding the employee status they are legally owed under the California state law that went into effect in January.
California passed Assembly Bill 5 in an effort to improve rideshare drivers’ benefits and wages. The law, however, has been disregarded and fought by Uber and Lyft because of the potential for it to negatively impact the corporations’ revenues.
There’s also the matter of unemployment amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Uber and Lyft drivers haven’t received unemployment checks for a variety of reasons, including Uber and Lyft failing to classify drivers as employees and states having problems with releasing funds in general. Because unemployment has not been released or has been denied for many, some Uber and Lyft drivers are still operating during the pandemic.
While some have applied for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, many have not received those benefits either. Luz Laguna, a driver for both Uber and Lyft, discussed the problems she’s faced with receiving assistance during this challenging time: “You know I’m a single mother of four children, and I’ve been working through the whole pandemic. I applied for unemployment, but I still haven’t received no benefits, so I’m still working out in the streets working more, like, seven days, eight hours a day, it gets really tired.”
In addition to protesting their independent contractor status and the companies’ response to the pandemic, participants at the rally also protested the Uber and Lyft-funded ballot measure, Proposition 22, which will appear on the state’s ballot in November. If the proposition were to pass, Uber and Lyft would be exempt from Assembly Bill 5 and rideshare drivers would continue to have independent contractor status.
In speaking about the protest, Cherri Murphy, social justice minister in the East Bay and Leader at Gig Workers Rising and Drivers, had this to say: “We knew it was also important that we have a people’s hearing that involved having an indictment against Lyft and Uber for misclassifying its employees which have denied us basic labor rights, such as unemployment insurance, wages in overtime and protective equipment doing these pandemic times.”
Click here to learn more about the lawsuit California’s labor commissioner has filed against Uber and Lyft. If you have a legal question regarding a rideshare accident or incident, schedule a case evaluation with the Rideshare Law Group. We’re prepared to evaluate your situation and help you determine how best to proceed to protect your financial future.