Media Advisory for August 26, 2019 – 5:00 PM
Contact: Roxane Marquez, (213) 705-1078
Coral Itzcalli, (213) 321-7332
HISTORIC 500 MILE UBER AND LYFT DRIVER PILGRIMAGE MEETING WITH UNITED FARM WORKERS IN FRESNO, WILL DEMAND CHAMBER OF COMMERCE STOP EFFORTS TO BLOCK ASSEMBLY BILL 5
Hundreds of Uber and Lyft Drivers en route to Sacramento from Los Angeles will meet with United Farm Workers members in Fresno, drawing attention to the shared struggles of drivers and farmworkers and hand delivering driver messages directly to the Fresno Chamber of Commerce to demand they stop their campaign against Assembly Bill 5 and drivers’ rights.
FRESNO, CA — Uber and Lyft drivers from Los Angeles on a three-day, 500-mile motor pilgrimage to the capitol will be stopping in Fresno to join with the United Farm Workers (UFW) members who inspired their historic caravan and to hand deliver messages from drivers calling on the Chamber of Commerce to end its efforts to stop the passage of California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), which would end the misclassification of drivers as independent contractors.
Drivers organizing with Mobile Workers Alliance (MWA) and Gig Workers Rising (GWR) are participating in the first-of-its-kind pilgrimage to raise national awareness of the widespread abuse drivers face at the hands of billion-dollar tech companies.
The Fresno stop will include a historic worker exchange between drivers and UFW members, whose 1966 pilgrimage to Sacramento inspired this week’s motor march. Drivers, along with farm workers and local clergy, will demand that the Fresno Chamber of Commerce support this new struggle for worker rights by endorsing AB5 and union rights for rideshare drivers.
The Fresno stop is the second stop in the three-day journey that will wind from Los Angeles through Delano, Fresno, San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento to continue sounding the alarm on the plight of Uber and Lyft drivers — the dangerously long hours, the lack of basic of workplace protections, and the inability to unionize because of misclassification.
After the monumental journey through the Central Valley, the pilgrimage will move to the San Francisco Bay Area on Tuesday, August 20 for Day 2 which will feature California-wide protests outside of Uber Headquarters. This will be the first time that MWA and GWR drivers from across the state will bring their hundreds-strong motor caravan to the corporate giant’s home base to demand the companies stop their campaign against unionization rights.
The motor pilgrimage is scheduled to arrive in Sacramento on day three – featuring a grand finale on the steps of the California State Capitol where drivers will call for “AB5 and a Union” and culminating with an inaugural workers’ summit where drivers from across the state will share their experiences and strategize on how to grow their movement and win a union.
WHAT: Press conference and letter delivery by Uber and Lyft drivers making historic trek to the State Capitol in support of employee rights and a union.
WHO: Uber and Lyft drivers traveling from Los Angeles, local Uber and Lyft drivers, United Farm Workers members, Clergy, and Community Allies
WHEN: Monday, August 26, 2019 starting at 5:00 PM
WHERE: Fresno Chamber of Commerce, 2231 Fresno St., Fresno, CA 93721
VISUALS: Uber and Lyft driver vehicles with car flags and signs, drivers and supporters with handheld flags paying homage to historic UFW flags, posters with handwritten messages to deliver asking the Chamber of Commerce for support, massive floating banners with slogans “AB 5 and a Union” and “Unions for All”
Rideshare drivers throughout California and in Los Angeles County have been organizing for living wages, benefits, and the right to form a union at the same time as Assembly Bill (AB-5) makes its way through the State Legislature. AB-5, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and championed by the Mobile Workers Alliance, seeks to correctly classify rideshare drivers as employees and greatly expand their labor rights, including a minimum wage, benefits, and basic job protections. Throughout the 2018-2019 Legislative Session, drivers have also consistently urged state lawmakers to take even further action to ensure drivers secure a pathway to collectively bargain with Uber and Lyft through a driver-led union.
The motor pilgrimage arrives on the heels MWA drivers compelling the City of El Monte to become the first City in the United States to move forward to a $30/hr. wage of Uber and Lyft drivers. As it currently stands, rideshare drivers are misclassified as “independent contractors” by gig economy giants like Uber and Lyft, and forced to cover the companies’ costs of ferrying riders back and forth. A recent study on rideshare drivers conducted by the Economic Policy Institute pegged the average hourly wage for Uber drivers at $9.21 after driving expenses—an amount far below LA County’s minimum wage.
Assembly Bill 5, which is predicted to reach the governor’s desk in the fall, would mandate gig companies to correctly classify drivers as employees. The bill has been met with open resistance by Uber and Lyft, as well as the California Chamber of Commerce, while driver organizing groups like Mobile Workers Alliance and Gig Workers Rising have been campaigning across the state in support of the bill.
“Stopping in Fresno is deeply meaningful for us because, in many ways, the farm workers are the blueprint for what we’re doing in 2019,” Uber driver Leonardo Diaz said. “In both cases, you have massive numbers of largely immigrant workers fighting for their basic rights across huge geographic areas and without traditional workplaces.”
“The fact that the UFW was able to succeed gives us the hope and inspiration to continue to fight for our rights – to fight for AB5 and a union.”
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