A statement from Gig Workers Rising in response to the stories over the weekend saying that the gig companies are planning to create a fund for drivers if they get COVID-19.
Gig Companies To Create A Fund For Workers Suffering From Coronavirus
Last week, after tremendous pressure from drivers across the country, Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Postmates, and Instacart announced that they would explore the creation of a fund for drivers who are put out of work due to COVID-19.
Because companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Postmates and Instacart misclassify their workers as independent contractors, people who work on the platforms are denied basic rights like healthcare or paid sick time off. For days, these drivers highlighted how these policies were contributing to a public health crisis by disincentivizing drivers, who are at the front lines of exposure to this virus, from taking time off when sick.
Gig Workers Rising put up a petition that was retweeted by Senator Bernie Sanders and has collected almost 1,000 signatures demanding that policymakers hold these companies accountable for not providing paid sick leave, and Senator Mark Warner wrote a letter to the companies calling on them to support drivers if they are sick or have to self-quarantine as a result of COVID-19. Others joined the call in press statements, op-eds, and interviews.
The companies finally yielded to our demands late last week. However, this is not enough.
Healthcare Is A Necessity
A fund to cover those who have been quarantined does nothing for the thousands of drivers who may show symptoms but chose not to stay home for fear of missing a paycheck and falling behind on rent. Drivers do not need healthcare and paid time off only during a pandemic — they deserve these rights at all times, in order to ensure that their health is not dependent on a company’s whim.
“This fund they are talking about means that we would nearly have to die to get benefits.” – Carlos Ramos, a driver and organizer in the Gig Workers Rising.
While this is happening the gig companies continue to spend $110m on a campaign to exempt themselves from AB5, the law that went into effect in January 2020 in California that classifies gig workers as employees and gives them benefits. In the midst of this global health crisis, we are demanding the companies withdraw the ballot initiative immediately and cancel their campaign.
This crisis is just another reminder of how shameful the treatment of gig workers by these companies are – treating drivers like second-class citizens even when they are doing the bulk of the work and shouldering the majority of risks and expenses associated.
Gig Workers Rising is a community of app and platform workers organizing for better wages, working conditions and jobs.