Hourly workers such as ride share and delivery drivers are pushing their employers to provide more adequate protection and compensation as they work during the pandemic.
Recently, workers gathered outside the Uber Headquarters in San Francisco as they organized to block off downtown streets and turn off their apps for two hours. Their goal was to highlight what they described as a lack of action and protection from gig companies to keep them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
These drivers feel unequipped to deal with the pandemic as they pay out of pocket for disinfectant and PPE, including gloves and masks. Most are also frustrated by the amount of time it takes to disinfect their cars after drop-offs, which takes valuable time out of their workday.
The safety and reliable of customers falls on the drivers. They are arguing for more support from leadership surrounding safety and stability.
An Uber driver told CBS News that he received PPE equipment from Uber once in the last three months and said he buys Lysol wipes and hand sanitizer twice a week. “I have the safety responsibility for me, my family, and the passenger,” he explained.
Uber said it set aside $50 million to purchase health and safety supplies for its drivers last year. A spokesperson told CBS News the company has already sent 21 million masks, disinfectants, hand sanitizers and gloves to one million drivers and delivery partners in the U.S and Canada. Uber drivers can also request free PPE supplies as needed directly from their apps, the spokesperson said.
This situation is part of a growing trend as workers become disillusioned with their company’s reactions to the pandemic. Workers, if not provided adequate PPE, are striking as they argue against unsafe work conditions. Front line workers lament being recognized but not protected. Common demands include modifications to the work environment, hazard pay, paid sick leave, adequate PPE, and the shutdown of nonessential jobs such as casino construction and vehicle assembly.
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