Nine grassroots organizations representing 100,000 app workers form new Justice For App Workers coalition demanding safe working conditions, just compensation, and the right to unionization
App-based drivers and delivery workers transcend divides, launching multicultural coalition united in common vow to win justice on the job in Uber, Lyft, and GrubHub’s largest operational market in America
NEW YORK, NY – “2022 is the year of the app worker!” according to Naomi Ogutu, President of the grassroots group NYC Rideshare Club, one of nine organizations fighting for the rights of app-based drivers and delivery workers that have joined ranks in the largest labor coalition to ever take on the gig economy.
Today Naomi took to the streets with hundreds of workers from nine app-based worker advocacy organizations – representing nearly 100,000 New York rideshare drivers and delivery workers – to take on Uber, Lyft, and other big tech giants in the historic campaign, Justice for App Workers.
The new Justice for App Workers coalition currently consists of NYC Rideshare Club, United Delivery Workers Association, International Alliance of Delivery Workers, the Independent Drivers Guild, Long Island Uber & Lyft Network, Black Car Mafia, UzBER, Utany, and NYC Drivers Unite, and is rapidly organizing.
For nearly two years, drivers and delivery workers have supported New Yorkers through the COVID-19 pandemic, braving the streets to keep communities running, and performing essential services for many, including vulnerable and immunocompromised customers reliant on food, medicine, and grocery deliveries.
Now, for the first time, a broad cross-section of separate app worker organizing groups are coming together as a worker-led coalition to demand the rights, benefits, and workplace safety standards that app workers are denied. Workers say they will begin in New York and seek to win these rights for app-based workers across the country.
Workers in the coalition groups have voted to ratify six core demands that the workers say are foundational to achieving dignity on the job for app-based workers: winning living wages, a safe working environment, an end to unfair account deactivation, quality healthcare benefits, reliable, safe bathroom access, and the right to form a union.
At the campaign kick off today, bicycle and car delivery workers stood side-by-side with rideshare drivers as they railed against billionaire Big Tech bosses in Silicon Valley, and called on all workers across the industry to mobilize together and join the fight.
Justice for App Workers marks a historic coalition, bringing together constituencies from Chinese delivery workers in Queens to Latino rideshare drivers in the Bronx, united in their demands for dignity at work. “We are doing what Uber and Lyft never thought we could. App workers from different parts of the city, different cultures, we are all coming together for the first time,” said Dachuan Nie, a delivery worker with Chowbus, and leader of the International Alliance of Delivery Workers. “Today, 100,000 rideshare and delivery workers represented in the largest multi-racial, multi-organizational labor rights campaign are putting Silicon Valley on notice: It’s time for justice for app workers.”
“We are proud to be launching in NYC. But fair wages and safety, these are not just issues for New York City app workers. We want to see protections from coast to coast,” said United Delivery Workers Association President Nabin Tamang. “App workers cannot wait.” The aim is for this movement to spread nationwide, to the thousands and potentially millions of app-based workers across the country.
“We are demanding our basic human needs be met. We put in all the work for these companies. We deal with all the risk.” Sloan Wells, a BIPOC Uber and Lyft driver for three years and member of NYC Rideshare Club, who faces unique challenges as a woman in the industry. Wells is tired of feeling unsafe while working and groveling for bathroom access. “These changes would alleviate a lot of anxiety and pressure.”
Rideshare drivers and delivery workers are among the least protected workforces in the country, carved out of regulations that cover other workers that would allow them to negotiate over their wages, benefits, and working conditions. According to recent polling of drivers and delivery workers in the tristate area, 77% of app worker respondents said they struggle to make monthly payments like rent, utilities, car payments, and other bills. 82% would fall behind on bills within three months if they couldn’t drive or deliver.
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Justice for App Workers is a coalition movement representing 100,000 New York rideshare drivers and delivery workers, united in their demands to transform their industry. This means living wages, a safe working environment, an end to unfair deactivation, quality healthcare benefits, reliable bathroom access, and the right to form a union. Together, drivers and delivery workers are taking on the multi-billion dollar app industry to win dignity at work. Learn more and join the movement at JusticeForAppWorkers.org.