After Recent Reported Spike in Crime Against Gig Workers, LA-Area Drivers to Speak Out Against Companies Like Uber and Lyft for Offering Little Support to Those Who Face Threats, Harassment, and Assault on the Job; Drivers to Call for Companies, Local Governments, and Other Entities to Offer “Support Hubs”
LOS ANGELES — LA-area drivers with Mobile Workers Alliance will host a mutual-aid RV and self-defense training on Wednesday outside Uber’s Greenlight Hub in Historic Filipinotown amid calls for the tech giant and other gig companies to better support drivers’ safety and ensure dignified conditions on the job.
During the training, drivers will learn tactics to keep themselves safe and will join fellow gig workers by Zoom in Argentina, Mexico, and other countries who are hosting similar self-defense courses and mutual-aid hubs in their cities.
Data suggests that gig workers have recently faced increasing incidents of violence on the job. And because they are misclassified by gig companies as “independent contractors,” gig workers are unable to access workers’ comp if they are ever injured in an attack and don’t receive health benefits or other basic worker protections. Drivers say gig companies like Uber and Lyft also have poor practices for incident reporting and often do not offer any compensation or other support to drivers who encounter violence.
LA-area drivers will be on hand outside Uber’s Greenlight Hub Wednesday to share their experiences facing abuse on the job and explain how gig companies have provided few supports to keep them safe. The drivers will also run a pop-up “support hub,” offering fellow drivers food, water, coffee, a restroom, a rest area, and other resources — amenities that gig workers don’t often receive from their employers or the localities where they work.
The morning events will kick off an LA-area support tour on Wednesday and Thursday in which drivers will travel by RV to LAX, “ghost kitchens,” and other locations to host similar hubs for fellow gig workers.
WHO: Gig rideshare and delivery drivers with Mobile Workers Alliance.
WHAT: Driver self-defense training and mutual-aid RV.
WHEN: 10:45 a.m.
WHERE: Uber’s Greenlight Hub at 2417 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90057
VISUALS: Drivers will participate in a self-defense training and run a pop-up support hub, offering fellow gig workers food, water, coffee, a restroom, a rest area, and other resources.
The support hubs in LA are part of several being hosted by gig workers in numerous countries on Wednesday and Thursday. During the days’ activities, drivers and delivery workers will call on local governments and gig companies to establish “support hubs” that allow workers to rest, cool off, drink water, use the restroom, charge their cell phones, and access emergency vehicle and bike repair services. Such hubs could also be used as sanctuaries for workers who face abuse.
Background: For years, gig workers across the world have said that tech giants like Uber and Lyft have done little to protect them from threats, harassment, and assaults. Drivers say gig companies have made reporting abusive incidents difficult and onerous, with processes that sometimes retraumatize victims. Too often, passengers who have assaulted or threatened drivers are still able to use app-based services after a report is made against them.
Data suggests that gig workers have recently experienced increased incidents of crime targeting them, including assaults, murders, and vehicle thefts.
Gig companies often don’t offer drivers who face such violence or abuse any compensation. And because drivers are misclassified as independent contractors by their employers, they are unable to receive workers’ comp if they are injured in an attack.
After widespread criticism of its safety policies, Uber released a report in 2019 that noted it had received almost 6,000 sexual assault claims in the U.S. over two years. Recently, Uber agreed to pay $9 million as part of a settlement with California regulators after the company refused to provide information about sexual assault claims made by drivers and passengers.
In October, Lyft released a long-overdue safety report noting that from 2017 through 2019 it received more than 4,100 allegations of sexual assault and abuse from drivers and passengers, including 360 reports of rape. The company also disclosed 10 deaths from physical assaults over the same period.
In 2020, gig companies spent more than $220 million pushing Proposition 22, a California voter initiative that aimed to permanently categorize the state’s gig workers as independent contractors and not employees entitled to basic rights and protections — such as health benefits, workers’ compensation, paid sick days, and a minimum wage. Prop 22 was recently ruled unconstitutional by a California court, though little has changed for the state’s gig workers as companies appeal the decision.
Mobile Workers Alliance is part of a coalition of over 24,000 drivers statewide who are responsible for the billions that companies like Uber, Lyft, and their investors pocket every year. We’re uniting to win our union and a better life for ourselves and our loved ones.
Contact: Tim Sandoval at (213) 218-5855Download PDF