Uber, Lyft motorist caravan lands in California capital requiring a living wage

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Uber and Lyft chauffeurs opposed in front of Uber’s head office in downtown San Francisco last month.


James Martin/CNET

A caravan of Uber and Lyft chauffeurs concluded their journey on Wednesday in Sacramento, California, with one message to state legislators: pass Assembly Bill 5.

The proposed state law might enable chauffeurs to be categorized as workers, instead of independent specialists, which supporters state would provide more employee defenses, consisting of overtime, base pay and the right to unionize.

“We’re simply asking these billion-dollar corporations to do what we expect the mom and pop pizza parlor on the street to do — pay their workers fairly and give them the right to organize,” Lorena Gonzalez, the state assembly member who presented AB 5, said at a rally in front of capitol in Sacramento.

The caravan of lots of chauffeurs began its 500-mile-long expedition in Los Angeles on Monday. Before getting here in Sacramento, it dropped in downtown San Francisco on Tuesday to object in front of Uber’s head office. The group was signed up with by Democratic governmental prospect Pete Buttigieg.

“I’m here because where I come from, ‘gig’ is another word for ‘job,'” Buttigieg said at the protest. “If you’re working a gig that means you ought to be protected as a worker.”

Three other Democratic governmental prospects — Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — have actually likewise lined up behind AB 5. 

Currently, Uber and Lyft chauffeurs are categorized as independent specialists, often described as gig-workers, which implies they do not get advantages consisting of Social Security, medical insurance, paid ill days and overtime. Many chauffeurs state this system has actually caused exploitation. They state they have actually seen lower pay, greater expenses and longer working hours as the expense of living has actually increased throughout the years.

Uber and Lyft state, nevertheless, that this system offers chauffeurs versatility.

“What we repeatedly hear from drivers is what they value most about Uber is the flexibility to work whenever, wherever, and for whom they choose,” an Uber spokesperson stated. “We believe that independent, on-demand workers should not have to sacrifice security to enjoy that flexibility.”

The 2 business have actually been actively working to beat AB 5 as it’s presently composed. If their chauffeurs are needed to be categorized as workers, Uber and Lyft will need to remodel their organization designs. That might indicate they’d need to handle a labor force of 10s of countless chauffeurs in California.

The Uber spokesperson stated the business is dealing with “stakeholders” on an alternative design that would provide chauffeurs a minimum incomes warranty, a plan of “portable benefits” that might be utilized no matter what business chauffeurs work for and “meaningful representation” that offers chauffeurs more of a say within the business. A Lyft spokesperson stated Lyft is dealing with the exact same options.

“Lyft is advocating for an approach in line with the interests of our drivers, by modernizing century-old labor laws that make it difficult to provide both flexibility and benefits,” a Lyft spokesperson stated.

In an uncommon proving of cooperation, Uber and Lyft have actually united over the concern. The CEOs of both business composed a joint op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle in June stating they wished to deal with the state to permit chauffeurs to stay independent specialists. And they have actually sent out messages to all California chauffeurs stating that if they’re categorized as workers, they might lose their versatile work schedules.

On Wednesday afternoon, Lyft sent out an e-mail blast to its clients with the subject line, “Act now to protect rideshare in California.” The e-mail stated AB 5 might “significantly impact the way Lyft operates in California” and urged individuals to call California Governor Gavin Newsom and advise him to “fix” AB 5.

“AB 5 may require Lyft to make all drivers employees, which the majority of drivers have said they do not want, and might lead to hundreds of thousands of fewer rideshare drivers,” the e-mail read. “As a result, you could pay more, wait longer, or risk losing reliable access to rideshare altogether.” 

The messages that Uber and Lyft are sending out to both chauffeurs and clients become part of a “misinformation campaign,” state Mobile Workers Alliance and Gig Workers Rising, which are advocates of AB 5 and organizers of the caravan. Some chauffeurs likewise state the 2 business aren’t playing reasonable.

“Uber and Lyft claim that they care about the drivers and that they want to talk to us, but it’s hard to have a conversation when somebody with all the resources in the world is doing everything they can to stand on your neck,” Uber motorist Ramon Gonzalez stated in a declaration. “Uber and Lyft need to play by the same rules as everyone else.”

AB 5 passed the California State Assembly on May 29 in a 53 to 11 vote. The State Senate is anticipated to vote on the costs next month.



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