With a holiday coming up that usually involves a lot of boxes, we revisit two stories about recycling. Follow recycling driver Gareth Willey on his morning route and hear how recycling is sorted by Recology.
Drivers for apps like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash have said that being classified as independent contractors while working during a pandemic means they face the impossible choice between paying their bills and managing their exposure risk. Cherri Murphy, a lead organizer for Gig Workers Rising, spoke with “Civic” about drivers’ circumstances.
Some customers had their boxes broken down and neatly bundled, which Recology recycling driver Gareth Willey said helps, Willey but too often, he would open a door to a basement and find the boxes piled high, and would have to figure out a way to get all the material out onto the street and into the truck.
Hundreds of Muni workers have fallen ill with the coronavirus and two have died, said Roger Marenco, president of the Transport Workers Union Local 250A. For others, he said, the pressures of the job have only been worsened by the additional dangers posed by a global pandemic.
“We had to look at community spread,” said Susan Solomon, president of the United Educators of San Francisco. “That was very important to us, that we not just protect ourselves, but protect our communities as well.”
Non Plus Ultra, an event company that leases the Palace of Fine Arts, Pier 70, and the Old Mint, is under fire from employees who allege it filed fraudulent unemployment claims, harassed and bullied staff, and fired them when they confronted leadership, according to a lawsuit filed March 1 in San Francisco Superior Court.
Grocery store workers are the latest to be eligible for vaccination. As part of our “Essential Worker” series we spoke with Jim Araby, director of strategic campaigns for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 about how they are trying to get their 28,000 members vaccinated and why they are fighting for hazard pay during the remaining days of the pandemic.
Nine California legislators have proposed a slate of reform bills that would try to address some of the biggest obstacles to getting unemployment benefits to those who are eligible for them. Among them is Assemblyman David Chiu, who represents California’s 17th district, which covers much of the eastern part of San Francisco, and discussed the proposals with “Civic.”
Last year’s Proposition 22 allowed companies that dispatch app-based workers to continue considering them independent contractors, while adding some limited worker benefits. Veena Dubal, a professor of law at UC Hastings who conducts ethnographic and legal research on the gig economy, relays workers’ experiences and examines how it might lay the groundwork for other industries to shift toward gig work on “Civic.”
CalMatters, a nonprofit newsroom, has been reporting that the unemployment department is grappling with fraud — and unemployed people are ending up locked out of their benefits. Lauren Hepler, the economy reporter at CalMatters, and Emily Hoeven, who writes CalMatters’ daily “What Matters” newsletter, joined “Civic” to explain how the situation has unfolded.
Workers’ rights groups that have been mobilizing and strategizing over how to react to the passage last year of Proposition 22 criticized a move announced this week by Albertsons, Safeway’s parent company, to eliminate hundreds of grocery delivery positions in California and replace them with gig workers from DoorDash.