Media Advisory for August 28, 2019 – 10:45 AM
Contact: Roxane Marquez, (213) 705-1078
Coral Itzcalli, (213) 321-7332
HUNDREDS OF UBER AND LYFT DRIVERS TAKE TO CAPITOL IN CULMINATION OF HISTORIC THREE DAY, 500-MILE MOTOR PILGRIMAGE TO DEMAND THE PASSAGE OF ASSEMBLY BILL 5 AND A PATH TO UNIONIZATION
Hundreds of Uber and Lyft Drivers will take their historic motor caravan directly to Sacramento lawmakers after a three-day pilgrimage with a motor rally to support Assembly Bill 5 and union rights
After concluding trip with a motor rally, drivers will hold a first-of-its-kind statewide drivers’ congress to map out next steps in their union organizing campaign
SACRAMENTO, CA — Hundreds of Uber and Lyft drivers organizing in support of California Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5) and union rights for gig workers will arrive in Sacramento on Wednesday, taking their hundreds-strong motor caravan directly to lawmakers after a historic three-day pilgrimage from Los Angeles through the Central Valley and Bay Area.
The caravan is comprised of hundreds of drivers represented by the Mobile Workers Alliance (MWA), a driver-led organizing effort in Southern California, and Gig Workers Rising (GWR) – whose drivers have been actively organizing in the Bay Area. Together, they are taking to the capitol to urge legislators to support both AB5, which would end the misclassification of drivers as independent contractors, and a path to a union for gig economy workers.
Drivers will be joined at their boisterous motor rally outside the capitol by legislative allies, including Assembly Bill 5 author Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, before adjourning for an inaugural statewide rideshare drivers’ congress.
The congress will be an unprecedented gathering of drivers from across California as they formulate the next steps in their union organizing campaign – a remarkable achievement for workers in an industry widely touted as impossible to organize.
WHAT: Motor rally and press conference outside state capitol
WHO: Uber and Lyft drivers traveling from Los Angeles & the Bay Area, local Uber and Lyft drivers, members of the CA state legislature
WHEN/WHERE: Wednesday, August 28, 2019
10:45 AM – Drivers conclude their three-day motor pilgrimage with a rally at the State Capitol
California State Capitol, on sidewalk off of the North Steps
Drivers’ cars will be on L Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
1:00 PM – Drivers will hold the first-of-its-kind “Drivers Congress” where they will formulate the next steps in their union organizing campaign
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church
600 Alhambra Blvd
Sacramento, CA 95816
VISUALS: Hundreds of Uber and Lyft driver vehicles with car flags and signs, floating banners with slogans “AB 5 and a Union” and “Unions for All”
Prior to arriving in Sacramento, the drivers visited with United Farm Workers members in Delano and Fresno, paying homage to the workers who inspired their pilgrimage. On the second day of the journey, the drivers used the strength of their caravan to shut down Market Street in downtown San Francisco for close to an hour, demonstrating outside of Uber headquarters.
At every stop on the caravan, the group has been joined by local drivers who are also committed to the fight for AB5 and a union, as well as community and labor allies eager to lend their support to the drivers’ struggle.
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 employment 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 UCLA Labor Center 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.
“As drivers, we’re fighting against some very powerful people and very deep pockets just to win the barest labor protections,” Uber driver Khachatur Oganesyan said. “To win our union, we’re going to need champions in the legislature. I’m deeply grateful to the elected officials who have already stepped up for us. My message to those on the fence is simple: ‘Be on the right side of history. Be on the side of working families. Support AB5 and a path to a union.’”
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