Uber and Lyft drivers demand better pay, push to unionize


A 500 mile Uber and Lyft pilgrimage is underway.

The goal: to get Assembly Bill 5 passed and union rights for rideshare drivers. Also, a plea to the California Chamber of Commerce to stop their campaign against AB5.

Hundreds of Uber and Lyft drivers are taking part in the 3-day journey.

This comes as the ride-share industry is thriving.

Pete Falcon of Selma got behind the wheel a few years ago.

“The ubering is like a side job,” Falcon said. “It helps me pad my income.”

But some Uber and Lyft drivers are hitting the brakes.

We talked with a Los Angeles rideshare driver taking part in the caravan. The Fresno Chamber of Commerce was the second-stop on Monday afternoon.

“We want to become employees,” said Linda Valdivia. “We want 30 dollars per hour. They need to pay us what we spend in this business. We spend on the gas, oil changes, tires.”

They want benefits and the right to form a union too.

AB5 would classify all independent contractors like Uber and Lyft drivers as permanent employees. Not all rideshare drivers and organizations are in favor.

“You start getting benefits and time off and all this stuff and then it turns into a regular job,” Falcon said.

“It’s not fair to the workers that want to have that flexibility, maybe use this as a second income,” said Nathan Ahle, CEO of the Freso Chamber of Commerce.

The Fresno Chamber of Commerce, a private business advocacy organization, doesn’t back what it calls a one-size fits-all solution.

“We think that it sort of defeats the purpose of the gig economy if you will,” Ahle said.

AB5 will be heard on Friday by the Senate Appropriations Committee. It has until September 13 to make it to the Governor’s desk.

Meantime, Lyft sent us this statement:

“We’ve been working with lawmakers and labor leaders on a different solution, so drivers can continue to control where, when, and how long they drive, while also having some basic protections.”

The drivers are also met with the United Farm Workers in Freso, a group that also struggles with workers rights.

The caravan will move to San Francisco next where a protest is planned for outside Uber headquarters on Tuesday.

The journey will end on Wednesday in Sacramento.

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