Passenger and delivery drivers gathered outside Uber’s San Francisco headquarters Wednesday morning to demand that companies like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash provide them with adequate personal protective equipment and compensate them for the time it took to disinfect vehicles in the During the day is required.
Dozens of drivers from multiple app-based services blocked Market Street in downtown San Francisco and turned their apps off for two hours to highlight what they described as a lack of measures by gig companies to protect them during the coronavirus pandemic .
“Eleven months after this pandemic, workers are still calling for the most basic life-saving protection for themselves, their families and their communities,” said Cherri Murphy, Lyft driver and organizer at Gig Workers Rising, one of the groups behind the protest. said.
Organizers handed out masks and detergents to drivers who wiped their cars in public to demonstrate the time and effort required to keep themselves and customers safe. Most drivers spent 10 to 15 minutes disinfecting frequently touched surfaces of the car, including door handles and latch buttons, with wipes and cleaning spray.
“Companies have to show us that they really support us,” said Saori Okawa, delivery driver at DoorDash and Instacart. “You have to give us more and more PPE.”
Okawa told CBS News that she works 12-hour shifts, five to six days a week, and cleans her vehicle every day before leaving the house. During the day, Okawa said she stopped three to four times to sanitize her car.
“I need masks and gloves because we handle food and I need face protection[s] because some customers don’t wear masks, “Okawa said.
She added that customer reviews and the pressure to deliver on time are part of the job – but now she said, “We are under pressure to clean our cars, get enough PPE to keep ourselves and customers safe, and that’s one. ” a lot of stress. “
Omar Gabides told CBS News he has been driving for Uber for over three years and said the job as a driver during the pandemic was “terrible”.
“I have safety responsibility for myself, my family and the passenger,” said Gabides. “We need more stability, more security and more resources from companies.”
Gabides said he has received PPE equipment from Uber once in the past three months and buys Lysol wipes and hand sanitizer twice a week. “It’s expensive, it adds up,” he said.
Last summer, Uber donated $ 50 million to purchase health and safety goods for its drivers. A spokesman told CBS News the company has already shipped 21 million masks, disinfectants, hand sanitizers and gloves to a million drivers and delivery partners in the US and Canada. Uber drivers can also request free PPE consumables directly from their apps if necessary, the spokesman said.
“The workers did important services during the pandemic and we did our best to support them as they support communities,” the spokesman said.
In a statement to CBS News, a DoorDash spokesperson said, “We continue to provide COVID-19 support to Dashers, including PPE, such as masks, gloves, wipes and hand sanitizers.” The spokesman added that PPE items are free for drivers and can be reordered on a weekly basis.
Deryush Mobarakeh said he worked for a handful of gig companies, mostly focusing on driving for Lyft and Uber. He said he drove over an hour from San Jose Wednesday morning to support other gig workers in protest.
Mobarakeh told CBS News that he cleans his car “after every drive” and said that “none of these companies gave us PPE at all”.
“Now everything depends on us. That is not the way,” said Mobarakeh.
Lyft said it has provided “tens of thousands” of face masks, detergents and partitions in the car free of charge to drivers and will continue the policy. “Our most active drivers were also given a free safety kit that consisted of a reusable cloth cover, disinfectant and disinfectant,” a Lyft spokesman said in a statement to CBS News.
Instacart distributed safety kits with washable masks and hand sanitizer. The company said it had distributed nearly 700,000 free kits to its customers, adding that staff can easily reorder additional kits online if needed.
The city and county of San Francisco require employers to provide their workers with basic PPE or reimburse them for PPE costs. However, gig economy drivers say little effort has been made to meet these mandates.
Gig Workers Rising, a campaign that supports and trains app-based workers organizing for better wages and working conditions, said the lack of action by the ride-sharing agencies “was largely due to last year’s passing of Proposition 22, the law App employees were classified as independent contractors, depriving them of many of the rights and protections that employees are entitled to. “
Prop 22 thatIn California, during last November’s election, gig companies can classify their employees as contractors instead of employees, thus denying them the protection afforded to employees.
“With new restrictions on local governments’ ability to protect drivers after Prop 22, drivers fear conditions will only worsen,” Gig Workers Rising said in a press release.
Matt Haney, who represents San Francisco’s 6th district and is one of eleven members of the San Francisco board of directors, said he was introducing laws that require on-demand delivery app companies to provide sanitizer equipment to drivers to ask and pay for cleaning cars.
“It’s outrageous that the delivery app companies are continuing to make profits, but workers are being forced to bear those burdens as they struggle to make ends meet,” Haney said. “Workers have been doing their part since the pandemic began. It is time for on-demand delivery service companies to do the same.”