Uber and Lyft drivers in Los Angeles are demanding that the companies follow city-issued orders to provide personal protective equipment to keep them safe while they’re doing their jobs.
I’m Dara Kerr with CNET in San Francisco, and joining me now are Mike Long with the service Employees International Union seven to one and Jerome Gage, a Lyft.
Mike, can you explain what’s going on?
So last week, the city of Los Angeles issued a worker protection order Stating that employers of essential workers folks like grocery workers or ride share, drivers would be required to provide personal protective equipment for those workers who continue to work through the pandemic.
Unfortunately, Uber and Lyft have failed to do so.
And as such, you know, drivers are sounding the alarm, asking for the city to step up and make sure that these companies follow the ordinance.
Yeah, so Jerome you’re you’re out there you’re driving you’re on the streets.
Can you explain a little bit what the situation is like being a ride hail diver right now?
It’s very, very scary.
Scary word by a soldier like myself we are at a risk to contracting the corona virus spreading it through the passengers, infecting our families and we understand the risk but We don’t have the protections of that.
Uber and Lyft should be offering us as employees of the company.
Recently AB5 pass and we’re supposed to be employees and we’re supposed to be given protections such as paid sick leave, and in health insurance.
But since we don’t have that, we are putting, we were in a position where we have to Make tough decisions for ourselves as to whether to stay at home and self isolate or go out there and attempt to earn as as much money as we can for our family to make it through this crisis.
And just to add AB 5 is a law that passed in California that could require the companies to.
Make their drivers employees which would provide them much needed benefits.
Right, right, right.
Yeah, right now we’re being misclassified as independent contractors.
So that that passes the law was an enormous victory.
For letting Uber drivers like myself,
You know, this isn’t just a Los Angeles issue.
If either of you could speak to this, this is really happening to Uber drivers around the world right now since the pandemic is a worldwide issue.
And we’ve seen businesses step up their game.
We’ve seen businesses all over work with governments in order to keep their community safe.
We’ve seen workers, Amazon and Walmart, they enacted all of these policies to protect their customers or employees and things like that, but we have not seen the same things from Uber and Lyft.
Despite the recent mayor’s order for employers to provide proof Protective equipment to employees.
We haven’t seen anything like that from Uber and Lyft.
And it’s just disappointing.
Drivers like myself sacrificed so much for this company and to see them not make any effort for the bare, you know, to do the bare minimum such as like providing masks that that’s just that that’s unacceptable.
So we’re calling on, the city attorney to start enforcing that and force it, make them commit resources to help fight this pent up.
I’m going to add that as well I spoken to both Uber and Lyft and they’ve told me that they’re working to get out supplies to drivers.
But because of the high demand for such supplies, that it’s often hard to fill.
Those requests from drivers and I want to say also at this time, I don’t have an official statement from Uber and Lyft on the order from the Mayor of Los Angeles, but I will put that on my coverage on CNET.
So Mike, can you explain a little bit how this Situation between the mayor and the companies and the drivers in Los Angeles can be resolved.
Sure, I mean, I think, you know, the companies can take bold steps to address that.
Bus driver health and safety.
These are billion-dollar Silicon Valley companies, right?
Consistently touting their innovation.
When they’re saying that the masks aren’t available, this isn’t something that Happened overnight, we’ve been dealing with this for weeks.
Drivers have been doing everything they can to keep themselves and their passengers safe, but at the end of the day these companies need to follow the law.
And that’s why we’re asking the city attorney, the mayor’s office, step up and slow the spread of this pandemic.
For more on the story today and to keep up on my ongoing coverage on this issue go to cnet.com.