It was a triumphant Wednesday evening in El Monte, as MWA drivers packed the city council chambers to testify about our mistreatment at the hands of Uber and Lyft and ask the city council to move toward a $30 an hour living wage for drivers in El Monte.

When they heard about the challenges the we’re facing and the ways that Uber and Lyft exploit not just drivers, but also the public resources that we all share, El Monte City Council voted to instruct city officials to draft an ordinance establishing a $30 an hour wage for drivers in El Monte!

The $30 an hour is meant to provide drivers with a $15 an hour living wage and $15 an hour for vehicle expenses.

City officials will spend the next 120 days developing the ordinance, and will take driver utilization rates, waiting times, enforcement methods, and models developed by other cities into consideration.

“What happens to us as drivers also affects this community. If you raise wages to $30 an hour, you will be helping families like my own,” El Monte resident and rideshare driver Yadira Orozco said in Spanish during public comment.

Prior to the council meeting, more than 50 drivers held a rally outside city hall, sharing their stories and raising awareness of our demands.

“We’re not asking for the moon,” driver Linda Valdivia said. “All we’re asking for is enough money to live on and enough money to cover expenses. As it stands, we bring all of the capital to Uber and Lyft and they take home the profit.”

With the vote, El Monte becomes the first city in the United States to consider a $30 an hour rate for rideshare drivers. This is a huge step forward in the fight for drivers rights and against gig company exploitation.

We hope that other cities will follow the courageous example set by El Monte and its mayor André Quintero.

While we celebrate this victory, we’re not taking our eyes off the prize. AB5 continues to move closer to the governor’s desk and we’ll be ramping up our efforts in coming weeks to ensure not only that it passes, but that we win a path to a union.

With El Monte, and hopefully more cities, behind us, we’re only getting stronger. When we fight, we win!

For the second time in two weeks, Mobile Workers Alliance headed North to fight for AB5, rights and protections for drivers and a path to a union. 
Friday morning, dozens of MWA drivers joined a group of Bay Area drivers from Gig Workers Rising at the Uber Headquarters on Market Street in San Francisco. In front of the HQ, we held a press conference demanding that Uber and Lyft include driver voices in the conversations around AB5 and the future of so-called gig work.

In a recent op-ed, Uber and Lyft bosses claim that they want to change for the better. Yet, they’ve spent the past weeks doing everything the can to fight AB5 – including paying drivers $100 to show up to a protest against the bill. If Uber and Lyft really want change, there’s only one way to get it – AB5 and a democratic, driver-led union.

We see them and we’re calling them out. Prior to today’s action, we, along with Gig Workers Rising, published an open letter in the San Francisco Chronicle to Uber & Lyft bosses that makes our demands clear.

In the letter, we wrote, “It’s time for Uber and Lyft to use the same innovation that made their businesses a verb in daily life to do right by us. That means extending all drivers the living wages and basic workplace protections we deserve. It also means an end to putting the cost and the risk of doing your business on us. Most importantly, it’s time for California’s leaders to give us the ability to bargain through a strong, democratic, driver-led union. We insist on a seat at the table immediately as these discussions are taking place and a meeting to discuss drivers’ core demands.”

We drove that point home this morning, with Linda Valdivia, one of the letter signees, delivering her message in person.

“We the drivers support AB5 and a union. Don’t let anyone tell you differently,” she said. “We the drivers are only getting stronger and our voices are getting louder. It’s time for Uber and the other rideshare companies to meet with us — we’re ready.”

We then delivered a hard copy of our letter to Uber staff and concluded with some chanting around the building – to remind them that the real power is in the streets.

Cientos de conductores de viajes compartidos de todas partes de California llegaron al capitolio del estado la semana pasada para cabildear a los legisladores para que aprueben el Proyecto de Ley AB-5 y los conductores tambien hicieron a conocer su apoyo a los derechos sindicales para todos.

La acción comenzó el martes 9 de julio por la mañana, cuando los conductores se reunieron con funcionarios electos clave, como la Oficina del Gobernador de California, la asambleísta autora de la AB-5 Lorena González, el asambleísta Miguel Santiago y el asambleísta Ash Kalra.

meeting with lawmakers

Más tarde en la noche, dos autobuses llenos de conductores de la Alianza de Trabajadores Móviles (MWA) salieron de Los Ángeles con rumbo a Sacramento para un día completo de cabildeo de los legisladores en apoyo de la AB-5.

El proyecto de ley histórico pondría fin a las compañías de aplicaciones móviles que utilizan el estatus de “contratista independiente” para eludir las leyes laborales y negarles a los conductores sus derechos, dando derecho a los trabajadores a salarios mínimos, beneficios, protecciones de empleo y los derechos para formar su union.

Nos acompañaron compañeros conductores de Gig Workers Rising de la área de la Bahía de San Francisco, miembros de sindicatos de diversas industrias y trabajadores de comida rápida de Lucha por $15, todos unidos en torno a la demanda de que los legisladores apoyen la AB-5 y un camino hacia porder formar una union.

Mientras un grupo de miembros de la Alianza MWA emitió comentarios públicos durante la audiencia del proyecto de ley en la Comisión de Trabajo, Empleo Público y Jubilación, docenas de nosotros nos hicimos cargo de los pasillos de la capital, visitando a legisladores del sur de California para pedirles su apoyo. Gig Workers Rising hizo lo mismo con los legisladores del norte de California.

Después de la audiencia, en la que el comité votó 3-1 para promover el proyecto de ley, cientos de simpatizantes de la AB-5 se reunieron frente al edificio del capitolio, donde escuchamos a legisladores, líderes laborales y nuestra propia miembra de la Alianza MWA, Linda Valdivia.

linda speaking at the capitol

“Sabemos que podemos tener un salario digno, y beneficios y flexibilidad, y todo comienza con una voz real en el trabajo”, dijo Linda. “¡Empieza con un sindicato!”

Después de doce horas sólidas de lucha por nuestros derechos y con AB5 un paso más cerca de la ley, abordamos los autobuses de regreso a Los Ángeles con la promesa de que volveremos cuando el proyecto siga avanzando en el proceso legislativo.

Hundreds of rideshare drivers from across California descended on the state capitol this week to urge lawmakers to pass Assembly Bill 5, and renew our call for union rights for all.

Action kicked off Tuesday morning, as drivers met with key elected officials including the Office of the California Governor, AB 5 author Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, and Assemblymember Ash Kalra.

meeting with lawmakers

Later in the evening, two busloads of Mobile Workers Alliance drivers left Los Angeles at midnight to head to Sacramento for a full day of lobbying legislators in support of AB5.

The landmark bill would put an end to app companies using “independent contractor” status to skirt labor laws and deny drivers their rights, entitling gig workers to minimum wages, benefits, employment protections and collective bargaining rights.

We were joined by fellow drivers from Gig Workers Rising in the Bay Area, labor union members from a variety of industries and fast food workers from Fight for $15 – all united around the demand that legislators support AB5 and a path to a union.

While a group of MWA members gave public comment during the bill’s hearing in the Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee, dozens of us took over the halls of the capitol, visiting legislators from Southern California to ask for their support. Gig Workers Rising did the same for Northern California legislators.

After the hearing, in which the committee voted 3-1 to advance the bill, hundreds of AB5 supporters rallied outside the capitol building where we heard from legislators, labor leaders and our own MWA member, Linda Valdivia.

linda speaking at the capitol

“We know that we can have a living wage, and benefits and flexibility – and it all starts with a real voice at work,” Linda said. “It starts with a union!”

After twelve solid hours of fighting for our rights and with AB5 one step closer to law, we boarded the buses back to LA with the promise that we’ll be back as the bill continues to move through the legislative process!

Uber and Lyft are on the defensive. Earlier this month, the bosses at both companies published a joint op-ed that acknowledged the many issues that drivers have been calling out for years and made some vague statements about making things better for drivers.

This seeming about-face by the companies was immediately followed by this:

boss petition

Uber and Lyft are asking drivers to contact their legislators and oppose AB 5, a bill that would put an end to the misclassification of drivers as independent contractors and entitle them to the same minimum wage, benefits and employment protections that any other California employee receives.

Mobile Workers Alliance drivers weren’t about to stand for this. Instead, we organized a rally of dozens of drivers and Fight for $15 fast food workers outside the Lyft hub in downtown Los Angeles.

Our message was clear, “We speak for ourselves and we support AB 5.”

drivers speak for ourselves

Drivers spoke out a press conference, while others lined the street with their cars bearing MWA flags and signs. After the press conference, we attempted to confront Lyft management at the hub, but they refused to speak to the drivers who make their company billions.

Instead of sending the boss’s message to legislators, we’ve got send ours instead. Use this link to send a message to your local California legislators and say that you support AB 5. It only takes a few clicks. Email your legislators

drivers speak for ourselves 2

Hundreds Mobile Workers Alliance members driving for Uber and Lyft in the Los Angeles region took part in a massive all-day protest to raise awareness of our exploitation by these billion dollar app companies and of how our fight is the same as other low-wage workers.

The mass action began in the morning with an Uber hub take-over in the West Adams neighborhood. Joined by Fight for $15 fast food workers and SEIU 721 members, we descended onto the hub in a huge line of vehicles, all decorated with Mobile Workers Alliance car flags and placards.

As we took over the hub, we unveiled our demands of a $30/hour living wager, a roll-back of Uber’s recent 25% rate cut and an end to arbitrary driver deactivations.

“Uber’s entire business would be impossible without drivers,” said Linda Valdivia, a rideshare driver and MWA member. “We are the reason Uber and Lyft make millions. Yet the majority of Uber and Lyft drivers can work 50, 60, 70 hours a week and still earn less than minimum wage. This is wrong. it’s unjust. And it should be illegal.”

Wes followed up the Uber take-over with a “motor march” to a McDonald’s restaurant in the Crenshaw District neighborhood nearby. We drove behind a large procession of fast food workers, child care providers, home care workers and janitors who were all part of the “Fight for $15” movement to raise the national minimum wage to at least $15/hour.

As those workers took over the inside of the restaurant, we took over the drive through and parking lot in solidarity, shutting down the restaurant for the day.