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.