Statement on George Floyd and Civil Unrest
Gig Workers Matter supports the Black Lives Matter movement and the calls for justice for the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and other African Americans impacted by racism and police misconduct. Black and brown working people are the heart of the gig economy, and our fight to be heard is a fight for economic equality for our brothers and sisters who work for app-based platforms such as Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart. We stand in solidarity with organizations calling for transformative change in our country and are launching an initiative below to do our part.
In This Update
1. Fundraiser and Community Mutual Aid
2. Legislative Update: Victory
3. Health and Safety Collaboration with UIC School of Public Health
4. Documentary Film Collaboration: Driver Profiles
5. New Advocacy Campaign
Fundraiser and Community Mutual Aid
We are planning an effort to raise money for a charitable cause which aims to support families affected by job loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Details will follow shortly. If you’re a driver and can help out by making deliveries of food, or have received unemployment compensation and would like to donate, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be in touch!
Our recently launched advocacy tool generated over 100 submissions to Illinois elected representatives calling for a limit to the renewal of the Transportation Network Provider (rideshare) bill in Illinois. We kept the renewal to one year versus five years, which will bring Uber and Lyft back to the negotiating table for better driver benefits. We partnered with AFSCME on this effort and look forward to meeting with the sponsors of the legislation in the summer. Thanks to all the drivers who participated in this effort!
Health and Safety Collaboration
We are super excited to be working with UIC’s School of Public Health on a health study of rideshare drivers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay tuned – by helping out, you can earn a free gift card for filling out a short survey.
Gig the Doc: Documentary Film
We were contacted recently by a group of young filmmakers working on a new documentary about the gig economy and they’d like to hear from drivers like you! What’s your story? Submit a short video about yourself via their website or our handy video capture tool. Maybe you’ll be the next Tiger King of rideshare!
New Advocacy Campaign
Last but not least, we are joining a nationwide collective of gig work advocacy organizations to sponsor a new petition asking for full benefits for freelancers and gig workers during the COVID-19 crisis. Please click through and show your support. Thanks!
Whew, that was a lot to cover! If you want to stay updated on the latest news, or want to pass this onto a friend, simply sign up for updates via the link below. We appreciate all of our supporters. Stay healthy and stay strong!
We are very excited to be collaborating with a group of filmmakers creating a new documentary about the gig economy. They reached out to us to hear stories from drivers about working this new way. Here’s a snippet from Zak Norton from the group.
We hope this finds you well and healthy in these unusual times. My name is Zak and I’m the producer of a new documentary about the gig economy. Our documentary project is focused on telling the stories of the gig workers in the streets – the workers who have to choose between risking their lives on the job or not being able to put a roof over their head. We would love to hear your story about your gig work; how do you feel about it and how it has treated you? You can upload a video/audio of your story on our website: gigthedoc.com. You can also follow us Facebook and Instagram (@gigthedoc).
Thank you for your consideration and we hope to hear from you soon! Stay safe out there.
Want to participate? You can submit your own video to their website, or even easier, use our video capture tool below. It works with no download, no account and you can use your own phone to record a short segment. We’ll make sure it gets to the filmmakers. Thanks for participating!
We were able to obtain a copy of the city of Chicago’s guidelines for rideshare and taxicab drivers to maintain health and safety standards as the city begins to move into Phase 3 of the plan to re-start business services.
Drivers, what do you think? Are these reasonable and appropriate? If you kept driving during the past 2 months of quarantine, have you followed these precautions? What’s been your experience with passengers? Please comment below or on our Facebook page. Thanks!
May 2020 Update – Contact your Legislator in IL
The legislation which authorized ride share services in Illinois is due for renewal in June. If nothing happens, it will likely be approved for another 5 year term. We can’t let that happen without a fight. A coalition of organizations including Gig Workers Matter is urging fellow drivers to contact their Illinois legislators to ask that this renewal be limited to one year. This will allow our allies to negotiate with Uber and Lyft to come to the table and do more to help drivers already struggling with COVID-19 and the collapse of their ability to stay safe and earn a living.
We are providing a quick and easy way for you to send a strong message to our representatives. Our one-click advocacy tool below will send our message to your State Senator and Representative (it will automatically locate them for you based on your address).
One-Click Advocacy Tool (Part 1)
Please click this link to access the tool. Enter your address and it will find your local IL legislator.
Once you’ve completed Part 1, you can also send the same message to the two co-sponsors above by completing Part 2 below.
One-Click Advocacy Tool (Part 2)
Please click this link to access the 2nd step to send a message directly to Sen. Sims and Rep. Welch. If they are already your rep (part 1), you do not need to do this step.
Copy of Letters Sent to Legislators
Join Our Email List
Gig Workers Matter is an all-volunteer organization of gig workers just like you! Please join our mailing list to stay informed about our advocacy work, future meetings, and updates on the gig economy.
We have a new advocacy tool to help activists send a clear message to Uber executives. Before proceeding, please make sure to create a Twitter account so this process goes smoothly.
There are three parts to this campaign. Please click on all 3 links below to send tweets to all the targets of this campaign. You can also tweet to any of the target users manually by referencing the lists in each group. Happy tweeting!
Please support Gig Workers Matter by signing up for our newsletter. GWM is an all-volunteer driver-led organization.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 18, 2020
COVID-19 AND THE GIG ECONOMY:
Labor advocates and gig workers warn of widespread suffering without dramatic action
CHICAGO– Workers’ rights advocacy organizations have joined with gig workers organizing across the Chicagoland area to demand quick and effective action to prevent widespread suffering for workers classified as independent contractors—workers including rideshare, taxi and app-based delivery drivers who are excluded from critical city, state and federal labor protections.
Workers and advocates are hosting a virtual briefing via video& phone conference on Thursday March 19 at 11:30 AM: https://zoom.us/j/4350514206 Meeting ID: 435 051 4206/ 312-626-6799, 4350514206#.
The message from experts and workers is clear. Working people are already in crisis as the economic toll of the global pandemic is already taking place and we need employers, the state of Illinois and federal government to take immediate action.
First and foremost, we need to prioritize immediate cash assistance to working people. The federal government and employers can offer direct cash payments to people experiencing layoffs due to the pandemic and economic fallout resulting from it.
Secondly, we need to rewrite the rules immediately on who is able to qualify for unemployment insurance and Medicaid. Designating workers as independent contractors has exploded since the 2008 recession. Examples include adjunct faculty, substitute teachers, rideshare drivers, homecare workers, nannies, temp workers in countless industries, other freelance and gig workers. The list is long and represents 1 out of every 3 workers in our economy which mean millions of workers are impacted by job displacement as our economy contracts in this public health crises. These workers are categorically excluded from paid sick leave laws, minimum wage protections, workers’ compensation coverage and unemployment insurance as well as prohibited from forming a union to advocate for their rights at work. The effort of companies to dodge any and all financial liabilities for their employees is leading far too many workers to be classified as independent contractors. This COVID-19 crisis is precisely, acutely why this is a catastrophe for workers, the public and our economy.
More than 114,000 people in the Chicago area work as rideshare drivers (40% full-time) and 12,000 as taxi drivers. Tens of thousands of others work for app-based delivery services.
It has been reported by media outlets that just yesterday Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told members of Congress that unemployment could soar to as high as 20%. It has also been reported that large employers, who are seeking bailouts from Washington, are also preventing laid off workers from receiving unemployment compensation. This is obviously unacceptable. If airlines, hotel chains, and other industries are seeking bailouts from the American taxpayer we must stipulate that all workers will receive cash assistance and unemployment insurance compensation.
During the recession beginning in 2008, Congress acted quickly to subsidize states offering extended unemployment benefits up to 12, 18 or 24 months. We need Congress to act again to support state effort to extend this lifeline to all workers being displaced. The State of Illinois and IDES need to adjust who qualifies for unemployment insurance. The critical distinction for eligibility for unemployment is people in jobs considered “Insured Work” vs “Uninsured Work.” Corporations and industries which operate a “gig economy” business model—including traditional taxi, app-based ridesharing, app-dispatched service work and app-based delivery save billions by not paying into public social insurance programs leaving their workers vulnerable.
The bottom line is that if your employer considers you an “independent contractor” that company is NOT paying into the unemployment insurance program at the State of Illinois, and neither are you as an employee, and you are NOT eligible for unemployment insurance.
Longer term, we must pass state legislation to end employee misclassification and expand employment protections to the millions of workers excluded from basic labor protections.
But right now, we must take care of the workers and start holding the companies accountable. We recommend:
1.) All large, app-based Gig Employers with workers being displaced due to COVID-19 and economic recession shall immediately grant workers an emergency relief payment of $2,000, deposited straight to their accounts for as long as emergency closure orders are in effect.
2.) The City of Chicago should use the Ground Transportation Fund to provide emergency assistance to taxi drivers.
3.) All Gig Employers will pay a percentage fee per Independent contractor to the City of Chicago, Cook County and State of Illinois to offset costs in providing access to Medicaid and unemployment insurance to their workforce.
4.) The State of Illinois will allow all temporary workers and independent contractors to file for unemployment with proof of wages paid over the last 4 weeks including payments made via app-based companies.
5.) Governmental bodies can use this proof of wages paid to individual workers to cumulatively assess fees to gig employers to recoup costs of extending Medicaid and unemployment compensation to gig workers.
6.) The state of Illinois will pass legislation that will prohibit the misclassification of workers.
7.) The state of Illinois will extend unemployment benefits to 12 months.
VIDEO/PHONE PRESS BRIEFING WITH ADVOCATES AND GIG WORKERS
THURSDAY MARCH 19, 2020
Meeting ID: 435 051 4206
One tap mobile
+13126266799,,4350514206# US (Chicago)
Susan HurleyExecutive DirectorChicago Jobs with Justice773.412.2386 Cell312.738.6161 Office333 S. AshlandChicago, IL 60607
Live from our recent Globe Pub driver event, this up and coming musical talent is not only a rideshare driver but a force of nature. Check him out!
A few months ago we were made aware of pending legislation sponsored by Alderman Scott Waguespack, 32 Ward Alderman and chair of the Chicago city council’s Finance Committee, to further regulate rideshare by removing out-of-state cars and drivers from the Chicago service area. Gig Workers Matter has worked to follow-up with both Ald. Waguespack as well as a few other city council members. We are also partnering with like-minded advocacy organizations to push this piece of legislation through city council.
In addition, we are also following up with key Illinois state legislators working on the drafting bills similar to California’s AB5 legislation. It is still early in the process for those efforts but we’ll keep an eye on progress in the coming months.
Want to get involved and help us? Please sign up for our mailing list and we’ll be in touch!