CALIFORNIA — Today, in response to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s announcement of a lawsuit against Uber and Lyft in partnership with the city attorneys of Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco to hold the companies accountable for violating California law, ignoring workplace rules and refusing to pay payroll taxes or contribute to the state unemployment fund, Hector Castellanos, who drives for Uber, and Jerome Gage, who drives for Lyft, issued the following statements.
Castellanos is a member of We Drive Progress, a movement of app-based workers in Northern California. Gage is a member of the Mobile Workers Alliance, a group of Southern California drivers.
“Uber and Lyft are avoiding all responsibility and shifting their costs to drivers and taxpayers. They are taking advantage of a pandemic, just like they’ve been taking advantage of drivers and taxpayers for years. When I was in an accident driving for Lyft, I needed shoulder surgery and couldn’t work for eight months. Without employee benefits like workers’ compensation, my daughter had to drop out of school to help us keep our home. Now that I’m quarantined because of COVID-19, it’s been the same struggle for my family all over again,” said Hector Castellanos, a Bay Area driver and leader with We Drive Progress. “Even before this pandemic, I was barely making enough to get by because Uber and Lyft did everything they could to avoid paying a livable wage or providing access to health insurance. By holding Uber and Lyft accountable, Attorney General Becerra is taking action to protect drivers and taxpayers, who are on the hook to support struggling drivers because these companies refuse to follow the law like other businesses.”
“Uber and Lyft are not above the law, but for years they’ve acted as if they are. During the coronavirus pandemic, their greed and disregard for Californians, drivers and customers has reached an all time high. I am terrified of getting sick as passengers cough and sneeze in my car constantly. Uber and Lyft have abandoned drivers and passengers by failing to provide personal protective equipment,” said Jerome Gage, a Los Angeles Lyft driver and leader with Mobile Workers Alliance. “I am unable to stay home. If I don’t drive, I have no income. I have no choice. If I don’t risk my health, I won’t have money to eat and pay my bills.”