Solidarity Summer is in full swing, as hundreds of MWA drivers led a massive caravan today calling on Uber and Lyft to stop cheating us out of basic workplace protections and drop a their deceptive ballot measure designed to buy their way out of following California law.
Over 150 drivers circled the departures deck and arrivals level at the Los Angeles International Airport today, in an unprecedented show of worker power that brought traffic to a stand still. Rideshare drivers completed nearly 9 million trips at LAX in 2018 alone.
Uber and Lyft maintain contracts that generate millions in revenue for the companies and airports, while drivers are stuck with the consequences of rampant ticketing, over policing, lack of access to employer-provided PPE, and a lack of proper training. Today, drivers called on LAWA officials to use their regulatory power to put in place strong protections drivers need that gig companies refuse to provide.
Drivers completing rides at LAX have faced significant financial and safety issues. Due to a lack of proper training from Uber and Lyft and a lack of guidance from LAWA management, drivers have incurred millions in citations, with the average ticket issued between 2016 and 2019 costing drivers over $300.
“With the COVID-19 crisis, drivers are facing severe economic hardship. For far too many of us, a $300 expense could mean having to choose between paying rent and putting food on the table or paying fines to avoid having our accounts deactivated,” said Mike Robinson, a Mobile Workers Alliance leader and Lyft driver in Los Angeles. “While we’re forced to shoulder this burden, Uber and Lyft are spending tens of millions of dollars on a ballot initiative to exclude themselves from following the law or having to provide us with the workplace protections we are entitled to.”
Additionally, as a result of Uber and Lyft’s continued misclassification of drivers, the companies are able to avoid providing Cal/OSHA compliant restrooms. While we won new portable toilets and hand washing stations at the driver lot, these simply are not enough to meet the high volume of drivers coming through LAX each day, posing a significant public health risk as the country still struggles to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.