Media Advisory for Thurs., Mar. 19, 2020 — Thousands of Uber and Lyft Drivers Demand Silicon Valley Giants Take Immediate Action to Protect Drivers from Novel Coronavirus

Drivers Call on Companies to Comply with State Law and Reclassify Drivers as Employees; Immediately Drop Deceptive $110 Million Ballot Measure and Use Funds to Provide Relief to Drivers; Provide 14 Days Paid Leave to All Affected Drivers; Provide Free COVID-19 Screenings to All Drivers

LOS ANGELES, CA – Thousands of Southern California rideshare drivers organizing with Mobile Workers Alliance (MWA) are demanding Uber and Lyft take immediate action to protect driver health in the midst of the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

As federal, state, and local authorities take extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus, Uber and Lyft have failed to take meaningful steps to protect drivers and passengers from the growing public health threat.

In less than a week, more than 2,900 have signed onto a petition urging the rideshare giants to take immediate action to comply with Assembly Bill 5, legislation signed into law last year by Governor Newsom which would end gig companies’ misclassification of drivers as independent contractors and properly classify them as employees.

Late last year, Uber and Lyft announced a $110 million ballot initiative aimed at overturning Assembly Bill 5 – drivers are demanding the companies immediately drop the deceptive measure and use those millions to provide direct support to drivers.

Additionally, drivers are calling on Uber and Lyft to provide 14 days of paid leave to anyone affected by the outbreak, personal protective equipment to keep drivers safe on the road, and a clear protocol in case of COVID-19 exposure, including free COVID-19 screenings to all drivers.

“Uber and Lyft are not doing enough to protect drivers and passengers during this public health crisis,” said Jerome Gage, a Los Angeles-based Lyft driver. “Because Uber and Lyft refuse to comply with state law and properly classify us as employees, we’re left without guaranteed paid sick time, unemployment insurance, or employer-provided healthcare. If drivers like me begin to show symptoms, we’re forced to decide between self-quarantining and making enough money to keep food on the table for our families. It’s unacceptable.”

Uber and Lyft have both announced so-called “paid leave” policies for a small fraction of drivers affected by the novel coronavirus, however both companies are only offering limited pay to drivers positively diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus or told to self-isolate by a medical professional. Uber and Lyft drivers are not offered healthcare coverage through their employers, so the vast majority are unable to visit a medical professional without substantial out-of-pocket costs. If drivers choose to self-isolate after showing symptoms, or need to stay home to care for their children, the companies are not offering any financial assistance.

Drivers will speak out on their demands during a tele-press conference this Thursday.

WHAT:  Telephone press conference with Uber and Lyft drivers affected by COVID-19 outbreak

WHEN:  Thursday, March 19th at 11:00AM

CALL:  844-291-5495, Access Code: 6189653


Mobile Workers Alliance, a group of more than 15,000 Southern California drivers, has been fighting for drivers to be correctly classified as employees, taking bold action to support the passage of Assembly Bill 5, including a three day, 1,000-mile caravan from Los Angeles to the Bay Area to Sacramento and back last August. With AB 5 now established law, MWA drivers are calling on state officials to enforce it and demanding that gig companies like Uber and Lyft correctly classify drivers as employees.


Contact: Mike Long, 213-304-9777,

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