Rideshare workers demand better pay and working conditions

David Crane keeps a yellow legal notepad in his car, pages full of his thoughts on the concerns of thousands of other rideshare drivers like him, with demands boiling over for better pay, safer working conditions and union rights.

“We deserve what is right. We deserve better pay for the amount of time we spend away from home. We deserve a living wage, and we are not getting them,” Crane said.

In a news conference Sunday afternoon, Illinois rideshare drivers and delivery workers from Uber, Lyft, Grubhub and DoorDash announced that various local groups — including 20,000 members — are joining a national movement led by Justice for App Workers. .

“It’s a roller coaster of a job. Any day we go there, we don’t know what we’re going to face. We’re going to be there and it could be a good day where earnings are solid and customers are pleasant ,” said Lenny Sanchez of JFAW and the Illinois Independent Drivers Guild.

“But at the same time, we always think of a customer who is unruly and unhappy and makes unreasonable claims against us. And with an algorithm that is our boss, that means sometimes as a worker. Our situation is exhausted and our means to provide for our families are pulled completely from beneath us,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez spoke in front of a banner with the Coalition’s logo: a pumped fist holding a cellphone, the word “justice” written in 11 different languages ​​in a circle around him. JFAW began six months ago in New York with 100,000 workers, and Sunday’s announcement marked the movement’s expansion into the Midwest.

“This is a movement that we are trying to take to the national level. We started with Chicago. We hope other cities will be the next step, and we welcome everyone to join in, be a part of it,” said Adalgisa Piero-Diara of JFAW New York. “So, let’s just keep the movement and the momentum going.”

As Chicago rideshare and delivery drivers face rising gas prices, inflation and risks at work, app-based workers are fighting for six specific demands their companies meet: living wages, safe working environments. , an end to unfair account inactivity, quality health care and mental health care benefits, access to bathrooms at work and the right to form a union.

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Desiree Gillespie stopped being a rideshare and delivery driver five months ago. She said that, among other things, she faced constant sexual harassment from customers and that Uber did nothing but send her a generic message in response to her reports.

“It’s really unfortunate that we give our everything — we go out there to try to make a living for our families — and we don’t get much in return,” Gillespie said. “Therefore, I am proud to be part of the Coalition for Justice for App Workers because we are so strong together. This we cannot do alone. We have to unite and we have to unionize.”

The JFAW Illinois alliance consists of seven organizations: Road Warriors Chicago, Illinois Independent Drivers Guild, Latinos Unidos Uber/Lyft, SOS Uber y Lyft, Rideshare Revolutionary, Chicago Uber and Lyft Drivers and the Chicago Stollen Car Directory. Many members of various groups organized through Facebook, as did the first coalition in New York.

“Hopefully we can get an Uber and Lyft to treat us better as humans, because sometimes we feel like we’re not being treated like humans,” said Manny Levia, a Full time Uber driver and member of SOS Uber Y Lyft. Tribune. “Whenever something happens to us they don’t care about us, at times instead of fighting for us, we actually become passive.”

The news conference was booked for a day of rest and respite for app workers at Grove 10 in Schiller Park, with bounce houses for kids, food trucks for families, and music.

“I want to tell people it may be an easy job, but it’s not an easy job all the time. And I see it as caring for people to make a living,” Crane said, on a cloudy Sunday afternoon. Looking at the people when they live. “We certainly should be treated much better than we are being treated right now.”

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