SAN FRANCISCO—A caravan of Uber vehicles surrounded Uber’s San Francisco headquarters on Monday, May 10 to ask the company to drop a ballot initiative that would overturn California’s AB5 law, which is intended to give gig workers more rights, benefits and safer working conditions.
Between 50 to 100 vehicles surrounded the headquarters at the corner of Market and 11 Street, and honked their horns in protest. Around 15 protesters gathered at the headquarters’ entrance, and unfurled a banner reading “Drivers United” as they announced their demands from a bullhorn.
The protest was organized by Gig Workers Rising, and was timed to take place during Uber’s annual shareholder meeting. The campaign demands that ride-sharing companies allow gig working drivers to unite, receive benefits, and receive more pay for their work.
The protesters asked that Uber provide drivers with proper protective gear and create a safer working environment in the vehicles amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ride-sharing companies such as Lyft and Uber have actively fought the enforcement of California’s AB5 law, which would require that the drivers for these companies be categorized as employees than freelance gig workers. Last fall, Uber and Lyft were joined by several other gig economy businesses, including Instacart and Postmates, as they placed a measure on the ballot to exempt them from the AB5 law that went into effect on January 1.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit last week in a effort to get Uber and Lyft to follow the employee standards outlined in the law. Uber responded to the lawsuit issuing a statement that read:
“At a time when California’s economy is in crisis with four million people out of work, we need to make it easier, not harder, for people to quickly start earning. We will contest this action in court, while at the same time pushing to raise the standard of independent work for drivers in California, including with guaranteed minimum earnings and new benefits.”
While Uber has not announced that they will implement the standards of the AB5 law, they previously announced that they are shipping disinfectant sprays and protective masks to their drivers.