In the shadow of the COVID-19 global pandemic and a world-wide effort to reduce the virus’s spread, we, as drivers for companies like Lyft & Uber, are at great risk of both contagion and poverty. For those of us who have continued to drive, our income has dropped by 80%, and we risk both personal exposure and spreading the virus. Just a few days into the crisis, most of us are vulnerable to homelessness and unable to meet the most basic needs for ourselves and our families.
Policymakers and employers in all 50 states are rushing to provide benefits to workers in many sectors to decrease exposure risk and help workers whose jobs have essentially shut down. But our employers--Uber and Lyft--have made no such moves. Although we are clearly employees under Massachusetts Law(Chapter 149 Section 148b), Uber and Lyft maintain that we have no access to employee paid sick leave, to disability protections, and to unemployment insurance.
Boston Independent Drivers Guild and the undersigned, on behalf of all misclassified Massachusetts workers in the face of this global crisis, make the following demands of the state and of our employers.
From our State Administrative Agencies, we demand:
- Immediate enforcement of paid sick leave requirements, including protections for drivers with pre-existing conditions, sick family members, or those who cannot access coronavirus testing.
- Rapid prosecution of wage claims for unpaid wages, benefits, and expenses on behalf of all misclassified workers.
From our City & State Legislators, we demand the passage of legislation that will provide:
- A temporary basic income for all independent contractors and misclassified workers who have little to no work during this pandemic.
- The extension of paid sick leave to at least 4 weeks.
- A statewide eviction moratorium until the end of the crisis.
These are not optional demands; the lives of hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts families are at risk. Every day that action is not taken means more and more drivers face starvation, homelessness, and other deprivations of human rights.
Take action now.