Uber, Lyft drivers rally in downtown Los Angeles to demand better wages, employment rights

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Dozens of Uber and Lyft drivers held a demonstration Wednesday morning outside Lyft's hub in downtown Los Angeles, where they called for improved working conditions, a $30-an-hour wage and workers' rights.

The proposed California Assembly Bill 5 would expand ride-share drivers' rights and protections by making it more difficult for such companies to classify drivers as independent contractors rather than employees.

If passed, the Mobile Workers Alliance said, those drivers could become eligible for minimum wages and other various benefits.

"When a worker's not properly classified, then the employees like Lyft and Uber get away with violating safety measures," said Coral Itzcalli, a spokeswoman for the MWA. "They get away with violating minimum wage, they can pay you a dollar an hour if they want to.

"So that's why these workers are coming together and they're working with state legislators in California," Itzcalli said. "They're working together and they're saying, 'Absolutely not. We want our rights.'"

Lyft responded in a statement Wednesday: "The vast majority of Lyft drivers value the flexibility that driving with the company provides. Over the past few days, tens of thousands of them have sent messages to state lawmakers stating that they want that flexibility to be preserved."

The company said it would "continue to work with lawmakers and labor leaders on a different solution so drivers can continue to control where, when and how long they can drive."

AB 5 would not apply only to ride-sharing drivers; other so-called "gig economy" workers could also see their employment classifications change.
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