With the whole Bay Area shut down under shelter-in-place orders to contain the spread of coronavirus, gig workers are in especially uncertain times. Some are seeing significant demand but also facing significant risk, working in contact with those sheltering in place or even self-quarantining. Others have seen their work dry up completely. Carlos Ramos, who drives for Lyft and is also an organizer with Gig Workers Rising, says gig workers including drivers should get the full protections and rights of employees under California’s AB 5 and need access to protective measures to stay safe during the outbreak.
Asked for comment on some of Ramos’ statements, Lyft referred to its coronavirus pandemic updates website and sent a written statement:
“Forcing drivers to become W2 employees, which they have repeatedly said they do not want, will fail to extend new benefits to workers and instead lead to the widespread elimination of work for hundreds of thousands of Californians and potentially jeopardize these essential services at a time when millions are counting on them. Once this crisis passes, the ballot measure supported by tens of thousands of drivers, law enforcement and civil rights organizations contains historic new protections and benefits for drivers that don’t exist today to help with health coverage expenses and to insure against illnesses and injuries incurred while driving — including contracting a virus while driving on a platform.”
“We need these things today. We need sick pay today. We need every worker out there to be able to have access to medical systems. They’re out there working, risking their health for you and your family. They deserve hazard pay. They deserve some kind of thing to make it worthwhile for them to say you know what, I’m going to risk my health so you can have your Oreos.” — Carlos Ramos
A segment from our radio show, “Civic.” Listen daily at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on 102.5 FM in San Francisco.