Rideshare Drivers Protest Across CA & Remain Focused on Defeating Prop 22 as Appeals Court Grants a Temporary Stay
Drivers to Rally at Uber HQ in San Francisco and LAX in Los Angeles Demand Uber, Lyft Follow Law Granting Drivers Basic Employee Rights and End Prop 22 Ballot Initiative
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Rideshare Drivers Protest Across California
(SAN FRANCISCO, CA) — Today at 12PM PST, 70 drivers from Gig Workers Rising, We Drive Progress, and Rideshare Drivers United participated in a rally outside of Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco as part of a statewide day of action. At the rally, drivers passed out PPE and participated in a car caravan with decorated automobiles before unveiling an 8 foot giant inflatable baby. Drivers were joined in solidarity by San Francisco D3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin and San Francisco D6 Supervisor Matt Haney.
Drivers reiterated demands that Uber and Lyft follow California law granting drivers’ basic employee rights and denouncing the corporations’ efforts to avoid their responsibilities to workers. Workers also demanded that Uber and Lyft drop their ballot initiative, Proposition 22, and urged voters to vote no on the proposition. Workers passed out protective equipment to workers who have not received adequate PPE from Uber and Lyft during the pandemic.
On August 10, a California judge issued a preliminary injunction that required Uber and Lyft to immediately obey state law and reclassify their workers as employees. This ruling was a part of the May lawsuit filed by the state Attorney General against the companies, which alleged that they are misclassifying their drivers under the state’s new labor law, AB5.
In response, Uber and Lyft have chosen to continue to break the law. Uber and Lyft have been so committed to maintaining their exploitative business model and not granting workers the employee status and benefits they are legally owed that Uber threatened, and Lyft committed, to suspending services in California by midnight on Thursday, August 20 if the appellate court did not grant them a temporary stay.
“No one is forcing Uber and Lyft to shut down services and kick countless drivers to the curb. These wealthy corporations are throwing a temper tantrum because they didn’t get their way and weren’t allowed to continue flouting the law to exploit us. Now, they want to take their ball and go home. It’s shameful and obscene,” said Alan Franklin, a Lyft driver from Oakland and member of We Drive Progress. “This is yet another attempt by these wealthy corporations to bully and intimidate drivers and voters into letting them write their own rules. It’s time for Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and the rest to play by the same rules as everyone else and treat their workers with respect. We ask California voters to stand with drivers and hold these greedy corporations accountable by voting NO on Prop 22 this November."
The appellate court has granted a temporary stay, following the preliminary injunction ruling on August 10.
“Uber and Lyft’s operations have been legally suspect from their founding. Nothing about today’s ruling reverses that,” said Rey Fuentes, Legal Fellow at the Partnership for Working Families. “What the court is saying today is that this issue will be resolved before November 3rd and the companies are going to be obligated to tell us how they’ll follow the law and protect their workers when Proposition 22 fails.”
The Fight About About Defeating Prop 22
Following the temporary stay, the companies have backtracked on their extortion attempts and have chosen to not end the livelihood of thousands of drivers, or cut off services many have become reliant upon during the pandemic.
“This rally, this fight, has always been about defeating Prop 22— Uber and Lyft’s latest attempt to write themselves out of the law. Even after a judge’s injunction order, the companies continued to sow confusion and fear amongst workers and voters by threatening to shut down the apps in California to scare voters into supporting Prop 22. Let us be clear, the companies were willing to end the livelihood of thousands of drivers during a pandemic in order to avoid obeying basic labor law. Now that the stay has been granted, the companies have backtracked on their threats and but we, the workers, remain focused on defeating Prop 22. We ask that all voters vote no on Prop 22, which has been entirely financed by gig companies trying to further their bottom line and continue exploiting workers.” said Edan Alva, driver and organizer with Gig Workers Rising.
Today’s rally in advance of the judge’s ruling, coincided with an action planned by Mobile Workers Alliance in Los Angeles. Drivers echoed the demands of Bay Area drivers while at an action at LAX. The coordinated statewide action showcased the powerful worker organizing that has consistently pushed against billion dollar corporations in order to secure the rights and benefits workers are legally entitled to under California state law.
"Uber and Lyft keep claiming that the government and politicians are crippling their greedy corporate style. But the fact is that this momentous pushback is coming from the workers and drivers who actually make their apps run,” said Tonje Ettesvoll, a driver and organizer with Rideshare Drivers United.
In response to the news that Uber will shut down service in California, allies shared various statements in support of workers’ demands.
"AB5 was passed in September 2019 and is not a surprise. Shutting down instead of following the law is using humans' jobs as political leverage during a pandemic," said Senior Uber software engineer Kurt Nelson.
This sentiment was echoed by multiple elected officials and local political candidates.
San Francisco D6 Supervisor, Matt Haney, shared, “Lyft and Uber are threatening to shut down services in California because they have refused to follow a law that has been on the books for over a year. Their shutdown is an attempt to extort politicians, drivers and voters into supporting the companies’ $130 million dollar ballot initiative, Prop 22. This is an attack on residents that have come to rely on Uber/Lyft, at one of the most vulnerable, dangerous, uncertain times in the history of our country, in the middle of a plague while cases are spiking across CA. This is also an attack on workers who have continued to demand the employee status and benefits they are owed under California state law.
I represent the headquarters of both Uber and Lyft and I stand with workers demanding that the companies follow the law. I also believe that both Uber and Lyft can grow and thrive here, and that all of their employees, whether engineers, or drivers, deserve worker’s compensation, unemployment benefits and other lifesaving employee benefits. And I support No on Prop 22.”
Uber And Defeating Prop 22
At the rally at Uber headquarters, San Francisco D3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin shared the following, “We are here because of the latest political stunt by Uber and Lyft to stop providing service to the State of California. These companies will be back on November 4 whether Prop 22 passes or not. Because of you all, we’ll make sure that when they come back, workers will have the rights, wages, safety protections, and benefits they deserve. In solidarity with labor, with gig workers, and with everyone fighting for equity and justice in this industry: VOTE NO ON PROP 22,”
Gig Workers Rising is a campaign supporting and educating app and platform workers who are organizing for better wages, working conditions, and respect. @GigWorkersRise
We Drive Progress is a movement of app-based workers behind the wheel of every rideshare trip across Northern California. We are part of a coalition of over 24,000 drivers statewide who are responsible for the billions that companies like Uber, Lyft, and their investors pocket every year. We’re uniting to win our union and a better life for ourselves and our loved ones. @WeDriveProgress
Rideshare Drivers United is a driver-led organization with more than 18,000 drivers in the state of California. @_drivers_united