Uber, Lyft Drivers Rally in S.F. in Support of Controversial Gig Employee Bill

Taking care of his mother and family, Uber and Lyft driver Malik Ali calls on Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi to help drivers keep a living wage. "You see one driver but you don’t see the family behind. At least give us our share. I have to work every day, because of the strict rules for the driver, which is ripping us off. I can’t afford to miss days to pay my rent. They don’t see the family behind us.” (Sruti Mamidanna/KQED)

Dozens of ride-service drivers rallied outside Uber headquarters in downtown San Francisco on Tuesday, urging lawmakers to pass controversial legislation that would classify them as employees.

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Assembly Bill 5 bill would make it hard for companies to classify workers as independent contractors and force them to offer basic worker protections such as guaranteed minimum wage, overtime pay, contributions to Social Security and Medicare. The so-called Dynamex bill, supported by organized labor and named for the court case, has made headlines for threatening on-demand business models made popular by the likes of Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Postmates, CalMatters reported.

Some of the protesters included Uber and Lyft drivers caravaning from Los Angeles to Sacramento, where the bill's fate will be decided on Friday.

One of them is Erica Mighetto, who drove down from Sacramento to join the caravan on its way up to the state Capitol. The pay for drivers on both platforms has gotten worse, she said.

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"Most of us can't afford to take a day off. We just want equal protections," Mighetto said. "We're so isolated in our cars and part of the reason I'm here today is it's nice to see that there are people that are experiencing some of the hardships I'm experiencing."

Here are some more voices from the protests.

Jasmin Rosas, 20, drove from Azusa in Southern California to demand benefits for her mother, Ruby Villareal, who has been driving for Uber for two years. "She's a single mother and works 12 hours a day and has to miss family things because she's working really hard," she said. "She helps me pay for college and it's just right for her to get benefits." (Sruti Mamidanna/KQED)
For ride-share drivers Erica Mighetto (left), Wayne Anderson (center) and Joe Maienschein (right), the rally was also about bringing together the working community. "We're so isolated in our cars and part of the reason I'm here today is that it's nice to see that there are people who are experiencing some of the hardships I'm experiencing," Mighetto said. (Sruti Mamidanna/KQED)
Gary Branson works full time 60 hours a week and has been living out of his car for over a year because he can't afford to pay rent due to student loan debt. "The caravan coming up here, I'm tearing up even now, just the fact that we're not alone. There's other people out here and maybe something good can come of this." (Sruti Mamidanna/KQED)
Uber and Lyft drivers came from around California to rally at Uber headquarters in San Francisco before heading to Sacramento to push for controversial legislation that would classify them as employees. (Sruti Mamidanna/KQED)
Uber and Lyft drivers rally outside Uber headquarters in support of Assembly Bill 5 to become classified employees and receive basic worker protections. (Sruti Mamidanna/KQED)