Hundreds of rideshare drivers from across California descended on the state capitol this week to urge lawmakers to pass Assembly Bill 5, and renew our call for union rights for all.

Action kicked off Tuesday morning, as drivers met with key elected officials including the Office of the California Governor, AB 5 author Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, and Assemblymember Ash Kalra.

meeting with lawmakers

Later in the evening, two busloads of Mobile Workers Alliance drivers left Los Angeles at midnight to head to Sacramento for a full day of lobbying legislators in support of AB5.

The landmark bill would put an end to app companies using “independent contractor” status to skirt labor laws and deny drivers their rights, entitling gig workers to minimum wages, benefits, employment protections and collective bargaining rights.

We were joined by fellow drivers from Gig Workers Rising in the Bay Area, labor union members from a variety of industries and fast food workers from Fight for $15 – all united around the demand that legislators support AB5 and a path to a union.

While a group of MWA members gave public comment during the bill’s hearing in the Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee, dozens of us took over the halls of the capitol, visiting legislators from Southern California to ask for their support. Gig Workers Rising did the same for Northern California legislators.

After the hearing, in which the committee voted 3-1 to advance the bill, hundreds of AB5 supporters rallied outside the capitol building where we heard from legislators, labor leaders and our own MWA member, Linda Valdivia.

linda speaking at the capitol

“We know that we can have a living wage, and benefits and flexibility – and it all starts with a real voice at work,” Linda said. “It starts with a union!”

After twelve solid hours of fighting for our rights and with AB5 one step closer to law, we boarded the buses back to LA with the promise that we’ll be back as the bill continues to move through the legislative process!

Uber and Lyft are on the defensive. Earlier this month, the bosses at both companies published a joint op-ed that acknowledged the many issues that drivers have been calling out for years and made some vague statements about making things better for drivers.

This seeming about-face by the companies was immediately followed by this:

boss petition

Uber and Lyft are asking drivers to contact their legislators and oppose AB 5, a bill that would put an end to the misclassification of drivers as independent contractors and entitle them to the same minimum wage, benefits and employment protections that any other California employee receives.

Mobile Workers Alliance drivers weren’t about to stand for this. Instead, we organized a rally of dozens of drivers and Fight for $15 fast food workers outside the Lyft hub in downtown Los Angeles.

Our message was clear, “We speak for ourselves and we support AB 5.”

drivers speak for ourselves

Drivers spoke out a press conference, while others lined the street with their cars bearing MWA flags and signs. After the press conference, we attempted to confront Lyft management at the hub, but they refused to speak to the drivers who make their company billions.

Instead of sending the boss’s message to legislators, we’ve got send ours instead. Use this link to send a message to your local California legislators and say that you support AB 5. It only takes a few clicks. Email your legislators

drivers speak for ourselves 2

Hundreds Mobile Workers Alliance members driving for Uber and Lyft in the Los Angeles region took part in a massive all-day protest to raise awareness of our exploitation by these billion dollar app companies and of how our fight is the same as other low-wage workers.

The mass action began in the morning with an Uber hub take-over in the West Adams neighborhood. Joined by Fight for $15 fast food workers and SEIU 721 members, we descended onto the hub in a huge line of vehicles, all decorated with Mobile Workers Alliance car flags and placards.

As we took over the hub, we unveiled our demands of a $30/hour living wager, a roll-back of Uber’s recent 25% rate cut and an end to arbitrary driver deactivations.

“Uber’s entire business would be impossible without drivers,” said Linda Valdivia, a rideshare driver and MWA member. “We are the reason Uber and Lyft make millions. Yet the majority of Uber and Lyft drivers can work 50, 60, 70 hours a week and still earn less than minimum wage. This is wrong. it’s unjust. And it should be illegal.”

Wes followed up the Uber take-over with a “motor march” to a McDonald’s restaurant in the Crenshaw District neighborhood nearby. We drove behind a large procession of fast food workers, child care providers, home care workers and janitors who were all part of the “Fight for $15” movement to raise the national minimum wage to at least $15/hour.

As those workers took over the inside of the restaurant, we took over the drive through and parking lot in solidarity, shutting down the restaurant for the day.