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Dara Khosrowshahi Pretends to Be Lobbying for Worker Aid at the Very Same Time Uber Breaks CA Law Requiring Basic Worker Protections

COVID-19 Exposes How Law-Breaking Gig Companies Are Ripping a Massive Hole in Safety Net for Workers

OAKLAND, CA – In a patently dishonest tweet last night, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi claimed to be pushing for new laws allowing corporations like his to provide workers with benefits amid the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the company’s refusal to comply with existing California law mandating basic protections for gig workers. In response, the California Labor Federation blasted Khosrowshahi, who has spent the last three months blatantly flouting existing state law that requires gig companies like Uber and Lyft to classify their workers as employees – making them eligible for paid sick days, minimum wage, safety equipment and access to critical safety net programs.   

“Right now corporate greed is the only barrier standing between gig workers and the basic protections they are owed under state law,” said Art Pulaski, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the California Labor Federation.  “We don’t need companies like Uber pushing new laws to undermine workers, we just need billionaire corporations to stop breaking existing law and start protecting the drivers who now find themselves on the front lines of this global pandemic.”

It isn’t for a lack of funds that gig companies Uber and Lyft have refused to pay their fair share into safety net programs; Uber alone has $10 billion cash-on-hand right now. Further, these companies stockpiled $110 million and counting in a PAC fund aimed at ripping protections like minimum wage and paid sick days away from workers.

The Labor Federation, representing 2.1 million California workers, demands:

  • Gig companies comply with the law. Courts, the legislature and the governor have made it clear that gig company drivers and shoppers are employees. Yet, these billion-dollar companies continue to flout the law, denying basic protections including paid sick days, a minimum wage and adequate safety equipment to gig workers. They need to follow the law or face the consequences of breaking it. Further, these companies must immediately drop their harmful ballot measures that seeks to deny basic protections to their own workers and lower standards for all workers.
  • Gig companies immediately establish a $100 million dollar relief fund to provide drivers in need with resources to help them pay rent, buy groceries and keep the lights on in their homes. Netflix and other firms have contributed hundreds of millions to relief funds yet Uber, Lyft and other gig companies refuse to provide any relief even to their own drivers. The companies have that much sitting in a PAC now. They must drain that account to provide direct relief to drivers.
  • Uber, Lyft and other gig companies stop denying drivers unemployment insurance claims and immediately start contributing to the state’s severely stressed UI fund that’s been overwhelmed with a million new claims. The gig companies haven’t contributed a dime to UI, even though they are required to do so by law, putting the fund’s solvency for all workers at grave risk.

Today, only a narrow fraction of drivers affected by COVID-19 can take advantage of Uber and Lyft’s extremely limited “paid leave” policy: those positively diagnosed with the virus and those who have been ordered to self-isolate by medical professionals. With no safety net, drivers who do not fit in either of those categories must continue to work – risking their lives to transport food, groceries, and even sick people to the hospital – or face crippling financial hardship.

See Khorsrowshahi’s tweet here:



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