About 20-30 cars circled Uber’s corporate headquarters in San Francisco this afternoon in a protest against the company’s support of AB-5.
The controversial new law was sold by progressive lawmakers as a way to bring equity to the gig economy by guaranteeing protections for workers such as ride share drivers, who have historically been classified as independent contractors — which has allowed companies like Uber and Lyft to avoid providing benefits.
However, the law, which went into effect in 2020, had some unintended consequences. One of the most egregious oversights in the new law came in the way it treated freelance writers.
Nevertheless, the law was largely welcomed by full-time ride share drivers and others who make their money primarily as independent contractors for other gig services — like TaskRabbit and DoorDash.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has added a significant twist to this legal battle, as delivery services have become essential to maintaining social-distancing mandates and helping keep the restaurant sector afloat.
Furthermore, ride-share drivers in support of AB-5 had always argued that companies such Uber and Lyft were particularly out of line for not offering healthcare to those who operate cars full time for the services.
Speakers at the rally included Cherri Murphy of Gig Workers Rising, nurse Jennifer Esteen with SEIU Local 1021 and San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman.
All photos by Kevin N. Hume: