Rideshare, delivery drivers to rally over safety concerns – Daily News

on Apr6
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A group of nearly 30 rideshare and delivery drivers will rally Wednesday, April 6 in Los Angeles, demanding increased support for workers who are threatened, attacked or injured on the job.

The drivers, supported by Mobile Workers Alliance, will gather outside Uber’s Greenlight Hub in Historic Filipinotown. The alliance is a driver organizing campaign that’s fighting for higher wages and is looking to unionize the workers through the Service Employees International Union.

Similar rallies are scheduled to be held in Boston, Chicago, San Diego and San Francisco.

The alliance alleges Uber, Lyft and other app-based gig companies offer little or no compensation to families after workers are killed while driving for the tech giants. The alliance plans to host a memorial at Wednesday’s rally for gig drivers who have been murdered on the job.

Drivers who work for rideshare and delivery companies are classified by their employers as independent contractors under Proposition 22. That means they can’t access workers’ compensation benefits if they’re injured in an attack and they don’t receive the same level of health benefits and other worker protections regular employees get.

Disappointed and scared

Reyna Hernandez, who drives for both Uber and Lyft, recently faced her own scary situation.

“A few months ago I was driving for Uber and had a lady passenger who got out of the car and took my phone,” the 60-year-old El Monte resident said. “She said I took the wrong way and she wouldn’t give it back to me for 3 or 4 minutes.”

Hernandez said someone later attempted to get money out of her bank account. She suspects it was the same passenger who may have accessed personal information on her phone.

“I reported this to Uber, but they said ‘just don’t use them as a customer anymore,’ ” she said. “I feel really disappointed because I was scared … a lot of things when through my mind.”

Drivers claim gig companies like Uber and Lyft have poor practices for incident reporting and often don’t offer any compensation or other support to drivers who encounter violence.

Safety measures

In a statement issued Tuesday, Lyft said safety is built into all of its operations.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to help protect drivers from crime, and will continue to take action and invest in technology, policies and partnerships to make Lyft as safe as it can be,” the company said.

Lyft has a system that allows drivers to connect with an ADT security employee who can alert authorities to the driver’s location. That includes ride details, the vehicle’s make and model, license plate number and the intended drop-off location.

As soon as a safety incident is reported, Lyft said will immediately reach out to the driver to offer support.

Uber said it has an in-app emergency button to call authorities if a driver needs help. The company uses GPS tracking on rides from start to finish, it said, so there’s a record of a driver’s trip if something happens.

The GPS system can also detect if a trip goes unusually off-course or a possible crash has occurred, the company said.

An 84-page Uber report documented 5,981 sexual assaults in 2017 and 2018, with 42% of the attacks reported by Uber drivers — not passengers, according to theguardian.com. Similarly, The Markup reported 124 carjackings and attempted carjackings of U.S. ride-hailing drivers from January 2020 through June 2021.

Closer to home, an Uber driver captured video on his dash camera last month of a passenger punching him after a dispute over a canceled ride in South Los Angeles, according to Fox 11 Los Angeles.

“He just got aggressive with me and then he went and punched me and started hitting me and I jumped out of the vehicle and ran,” the driver said. “I’m not sure if he followed me but he took my car keys. He ripped out the wires in my car and then took my cell phone.”

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