Monday, May 16, 2022

More than 50 gig workers have died while working in the US since 2017

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Isabella Lewis was driving for Lyft on a Sunday in Plano, Texas, last August when she… carjacked and killed by her passenger† As her family tried to find out what had happened, they kept getting phone calls from an insurance company they didn’t recognize, but eventually realized it was Lyft’s insurer who wanted to inspect Lewis’s car to determine if it would pay to to repair the car. damaged windshield and cleaned up her blood.

To date, however, her family says they have had no contact with Lyft headquarters.

“All we’ve heard from Lyft is when they said in the Dallas newspaper that their hearts were with us,” Lewis’ sister Allyssa said in an interview with The edge† “If I want to [Lyft] would have handled the situation with more empathy. We didn’t feel like anyone had our back, like her family.” The fare for the ride was just $15, Allyssa added. Her family had to raise money for Isabella’s funeral service on GoFundMe.

Lyft spokesperson Gabi Condarco-Quesada said in an email to: The edge that the company has “built safety into every part of the Lyft experience. We are committed to helping drivers protect against crime, and will continue to take action and invest in technology, policies and partnerships to make Lyft as safe as possible. ” Her email did not answer a specific question about Lewis’s case.

Lewis is one of more than 50 drivers to have died on the job since 2017, according to a new report from advocacy group Gig Workers Rising, compiled using publicly available information, including news articles, police reports, and GoFundMe campaigns. It highlights the risks of appearances and how families often have little or no communication from the companies involved, other than platitudes offered to the media.

The report found that more than 63 percent of app-based workers killed in the past five years were people of color, even though they make up less than 40 percent of the U.S. workforce.

The figures in the report correspond to the limited self-reporting of individual platforms. In a 2021 community safety report, Lyft reported 10 fatal attacks on drivers from 2017 to 2019. In 2019, Uber reported 19 fatal attacks in the past two years.

Cherri Murphy, one of the authors of the report and a former Lyft driver, said in an interview with: The edge that she was motivated to research gig worker deaths at work through her own experience, which included driving during the height of the pandemic without any benefits or unemployment benefits available to her. Lyft, Uber, DoorDash and other gig work companies view drivers as independent contractors who are not eligible for most benefits.

“There should be no deaths as a result of companies failing to protect their employees,” Murphy said. She was shocked to learn that many drivers who died on the job had to turn to GoFundMe, such as Lewis’s family, to cover funeral costs. “Why is there no support, no phone call from their employer?”

Before Wednesday’s report, there were numerous reports of rideshare companies failing to help families after a loved one died at work; in January, the family of Ahmad Fawad Yusufi, a refugee from Afghanistan, said Uber had tried to evade responsibility for his death in a botched robbery attempt last year.

Female drivers in particular experience safety issues on the job; a roadside report earlier this year found that women who drive for rideshare companies do not feel protected by the companies they ride for. More than two dozen female drivers interviewed described incidents of passengers revealing themselves, making sexual advances or otherwise threatening them.

In its first-ever safety report, released in 2021, Lyft reported 4,000 sexual assault claims between 2017 and 2019. A similar 2019 Uber safety report — the most recent — revealed more than 3,000 sexual assault claims between 2017 and 2018. Roughly speaking half of the claims came from drivers

DoorDash spokesperson Julian Crowley said in an email to: The edge that the company “takes the safety of our community very seriously. While negative incidents are incredibly rare, we are constantly working to improve safety for everyone who uses our platform.” He added that Dashers — as the company calls its drivers — have access to in-app safety features and are covered by the company’s work-related accident insurance. “We know there is always more to do and we are committed to listening, learning and evolving to make Dashers and the communities we serve safer.”

As part of a day of action on Wednesday, driver groups are planning protests in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego and outside the home of Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in San Francisco. The groups are demanding changes to the way app-based companies treat employees, including compensation for employees injured or killed on the job, and an end to forced arbitration that requires employees to agree to out-of-court settlements in the event of a lawsuit. procedure. disagreement. They want lawmakers to force companies to publicly report data on injuries and deaths at work. Also on their wish list: the right for workers to organize trade unions.

For her part, Allyssa Lewis said she would like to see more passenger screening for rideshare companies; the man authorities say killed her sister had no criminal record but was being investigated by the FBI at the time of the shooting. “You always hear about the drivers, how they screen them to protect passenger safety, but what about driver safety? These companies also need to think about keeping them safe.”

Update Apr 6 11:34 AM ET: Adds comment from Lyft spokesperson.

Update Apr 6 11:56 AM ET: Adds comment from DoorDash spokesperson

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