(Oakland, California) —Today a number of U.S. Senators and Members of Congress including Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Ed Markey, and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley sent letters to the CEOs of Uber, Lyft, Doordash, Instacart, and Grubhub with a series of in depth questions asking the corporations about their record and approach to worker safety. Five letters addressed to each respective CEO were sent today. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D.Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Representatives Stephen Lynch (MA-08) and Seth Moulton (MA-06) joined the letters.
Letter Regarding Gig Worker Safety
The letter told the corporations that their business model both penalizes those drivers for turning down rides that may be dangerous and incentivizes them to take risks in picking up passengers, all the while denying them basic employment benefits. The letters demand each corporation to release comprehensive data on the dangers its drivers face on the job, transparency that is sorely needed for drivers, the public, and Congress to understand the unique risks these workers face and urged the CEO to promptly change direction and start making their workers’ health and safety a top priority.
“These companies are extremely adept, tracking and collecting data on their customers and workforces when it is for their own bottomline. The relative lack of action on care and protection for workers speaks volumes. We welcome these letters from our elected representatives and call on these corporations to respond promptly.” Cherri Murphy, a former driver for Lyft and organizer with Gig Workers Rising. She continued: “App workers are being killed on the job at alarming rates, and workers of color and their families are bearing the brunt. Multibillion-dollar corporations like Uber and Lyft are not protecting the lives and safety of the workers — they would rather prioritize profit over the lives of working people who make their apps run. App workers have been organizing for years against the exploitation inherent to app work. We are excited to have Congressional leaders furthering this fight and calling on corporations to be transparent about the human cost of their business model.”
In April 2022, Gig Workers Rising released a report titled: Death & Corporate Irresponsibility in the Gig Economy: An Urgent Safety Crisis. The report found accounts of more than 50 app workers who have been killed on the job since 2017, including 6 in the first two months of 2022. Workers of color and their families were most harmed: the research shows that more than 60% of the killed workers identified in the report were people of color, although they comprise less than 39% of the overall workforce in the U.S. economy. These letters are a follow up to that report.
“There is a national safety epidemic affecting rideshare drivers, a new class of worker that has been systematically disempowered by some of the richest corporations on the planet,” said Veronica Avila, deputy director of worker campaigns at the Action Center on Race and the Economy. “Drivers are underpaid and overworked, forced to hustle ever harder with no regard for basic health and safety. We must all work to ensure these companies don’t run roughshod over nearly century-old worker protections.”
About Gig Workers Rising
Gig Workers Rising is a campaign of Working Partnerships USA that supports app-based workers who are organizing to win better wages, working conditions, and respect on the job.
The Action Center on Race & the Economy (ACRE) is a campaign hub for organizations working at the intersection of racial justice and Wall Street accountability. We provide research and communications infrastructure and strategic support for organizations working on campaigns to win structural change by directly taking on the financial elite that are responsible for pillaging communities of color, devastating working class communities, and harming our environment.