The double-edged vulnerability of Uber drivers, their economic & pandemic realities
COVID-19 lockdowns were necessary to keep the risk of contracting the fatal disease at bay. As many states prepare for the gradual reopening of establishments, people are going back into various routines. Plenty of these involves the help of public transportation, such as Uber.
The effects of the coronavirus are undeniable, and people will still see many changes continue to unfold. Strict mask requirements, spaced out public transportation, and compliance on social distancing will continue in the many months to come. While the demand for public transportation is increasing once more, the effects remain damaging for Uber drivers.
Uber drivers demand more benefits during the pandemic
Regarded as primarily as a gig company, Uber continues to leverage innovation and technology. Unfortunately, for the last seven years, this company has used innovation and technology to hide its business models that rely on vulnerable and immigrant laborers.
They are classified as independent contractors, which means that employers are not mandated by law to provide them with basic benefits and protections. Minimum wage and unemployment insurance remain also elusive for countless Uber drivers.
In such unpredictable times, Uber drivers call on their company to provide them with a protection plan against the invisible enemy—COVID-19. Their pleas remain to be heard, however, and the misclassifying of workers will likely be rampant, especially since the transportation industry continues to take hits.
On top of being illegally unprotected and misclassified, Uber gig workers fight the pandemic. As the entire country falls on the clutches of unemployment, millions of gig workers have already been living in poverty, even before the coronavirus. Despite working for 12 hours or more every day, many Uber drivers struggle to meet their basic needs.
What’s happening now?
Hundreds of thousands of drivers continue to demand relief, asking for gig companies like Uber to grant them fair wages and basic employee rights. In such a terrifying time of unpredictability, drivers demand safety nets and emergency funds like the rest of Americans.
In the meantime, drivers continue to be forced to choose work over health. With the pandemic causing low demand, and therefore low income, drivers face the scarcity of resources to survive.
Unlike many Americans, Uber drivers cannot receive an insurance payment, much less have funds to continue car loan payment, or even purchase gas. Next month’s rent and food supply also enter the fray of hopelessness, as with the absence of life insurance. Quite literally, Uber drivers are the most vulnerable in society.
Since their venture into the business industry, gig companies have provided countless job opportunities, but they refuse to employ basic wages and protection to help their employees thrive.
Even with a pandemic to battle, Uber refuses to hear their drivers out. What they offer now are 14-day assessments to deal with the coronavirus, but this remains against Uber drivers. Once a driver tests positive, they’ll suspend you from the application, and only pay your daily average gathered from the previous months for only two weeks.
Their workers deserve more than just bandaid solutions that barely help, however. Once they treat their workers better, collective health will flourish. Keeping their drivers safe and protected means keeping the entire nation protected. For now, many Uber drivers wait.
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About Driver Bubble™
The Driver Bubble™ is a simple, intuitive screen that fits into most vehicles and helps shield passengers and drivers alike. Born out of Amsterdam, the company designs and builds protective screens for the global taxi, rideshare and transportation industry.