Rideshare drivers stage protest while Uber and Lyft fight in court to keep them poor
On Thursday, the state of California urged a state judge to issue a preliminary injunction that would require Uber and Lyft to classify their drivers as employees, which they have failed to do despite California legislators passing a law last year that would require them to do so in order to improve the livelihoods of gig workers. But as officials and lawyers argued in court over the new law, which would make drivers’ lives better yet reduce ridesharing corporations’ revenues, drivers in support of the injunction gathered in Los Angeles in Oakland for their own hearing, which they dubbed a “people’s hearing.” In Oakland, a group of drivers from the organizing groups Gig Workers Rising, Rideshare Drivers United and We Drive Progress held a rally titled to demand the employee status they are legally owed under state law. “We knew it was also important that we have a people’s hearing that involved having an indictment against Lyft and Uber for misclassifying its employees which have denied us basic labor rights, such as unemployment insurance, wages in overtime and protective equipment doing these pandemic times,” Cherri Murphy, social justice minister in the East Bay and leader at Gig Workers Rising and Drivers United, told Salon. Murphy added that driving for Lyft during the pandemic has been especially trying as an independent contractor.