Rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft have a lot to manage in these challenging times and fixing their relationship with most of their drivers should be the first step.
By the time the United States had a glimpse of what COVID-19 really is, most gatherings were put to a halt and many took the suggested choice: stay home and save lives. Companies were forced to let employees work in the comfort of their own homes in which there was less transportation. This became clear when lockdowns were implemented, especially in New York.
For rideshare company drivers, it meant no income and being unable to pay for their cars and insurance. In April, Uber promised to pay their drivers who were unable to work due to the virus, but many drivers did not receive any form of compensation wherein Uber reportedly closed their accounts when they requested a sick pay. The worst cases include drivers seeking access to food.
Through Business Insider, Aziz Bah, an Uber and Lyft driver in New York who is also serving as the organizing director for the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG), wrote that the ride-hailing business needs to step up in building a better relationship with its drivers. This means the companies should focus on a “comprehensive state legislative approach” that will protect the livelihood and health of drivers.
The guild had spoken in a hearing last year wherein NY legislators were called to pass the drivers’ right to bargain legislation. The IDG then successfully organized to secure the nation’s first pay rate protection for New York City’s drivers working under ride-hailing apps.
“Drivers coming together to define our industry in terms of wages, benefits, working conditions, and protections, will help to improve the wellbeing of all rideshare drivers. We have seen our industry decimated, but we also see how we can come back stronger,” wrote Bah.