Over 50 organizers and community supporters participated in a bike and car caravan for gig workers’ rights in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood on Nov. 3. Organizers originally planned to deliver a petition to CEO Tony Xu at the DoorDash headquarters, but a line of police blocked protesters from entering the building.
The action took place on the one-year anniversary of Prop 22, a 2020 California referendum. Prop 22 deprives gig workers of standard California labor protections by classifying these workers as independent contractors, not employees. This denies them basic worker rights including overtime pay, paid leave, unemployment insurance and the right to unionize. Corporations such as Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash contributed a record $240 million-plus to the “Yes on 22” campaign, saturating the media with misinformation claiming that a ‘yes’ vote was in the best interest of the workers.
Now, a California Superior Court Judge’s recent ruling that Prop 22 is unconstitutional is under attack by DoorDash, Uber and other delivery and rideshare companies. Speakers at the Nov. 3 action, including organizers and workers from Gig Workers Rising, We Drive Progress, Mobile Workers Alliance, and Service Employees International Union 1021, demanded that these corporations drop their appeal of the ruling.
The caravan in San Francisco was one of many actions held as a part of a larger Gig Worker International Day of Action, with participation in countries such as Argentina, Belgium, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Brazil and Spain.
‘We are not cogs in a machine!’
Outside the entrance of DoorDash headquarters, full-time rideshare and DoorDash driver Rondu Gantt declared, “Tony Xu and his DoorDash cronies are keeping drivers broke and pocketing money that they should be using to pay us fairly. We work long hours, take on physical risk for low rates of pay on 80+% of orders. We are telling Tony that we are hurting, but he refuses to increase the baseline pay and treat us like nothing but cogs in a machine!”
“One out of every three new jobs is gig or independent contract work,” said Gantt, who organizes with Gig Workers Rising. “The way I see it, we are fighting not only for ourselves, but the future of contract workers. We cannot let what we’re going through become the new normal.”
The recent ruling of Prop 22 as unconstitutional has changed nothing for workers. Gig drivers continue to suffer from a lack of base pay, unfairly long wait-times without compensation, lack of access to basic safety and health provisions such as bathrooms and PPE, lack of health insurance, lack of workers compensation, lack of transparency towards consumers about fees and tips, and more.
Politicians hit for their inaction
Hughes, a rideshare worker who organizes with We Drive Progress, addressed this: “Prop 22 was ruled unconstitutional in Alameda, but nothing has been done to back this ruling. There is a lack of accountability among our politicians.” Speaking to Liberation News, Hughes expressed disappointment in city and state officials when it comes to upholding workers’ rights as well as fighting climate change. “We have to be the ones to hold politicians accountable.”
Other speakers connected the fight for workers rights with the housing rights struggle, and the struggle against police brutality, pointing out that it was the police who prevented organizers from delivering their petition to Tony Xu.
Ganttu commended the crowd’s optimism, “To all gig workers that are here today. I want to say that our country — our world — is lucky to have you. You are out here lifting your voices. When DoorDash hijacks the hopes of most workers, you remain hopeful. … Everyone here, you refuse to remain silent.”