- About 100 Lyft (NASDAQ:LYFT) drivers from the San Francisco Bay Area staged a protest on Wednesday, accusing the company of forcing them to buy their own personal protective equipment (PPE) to avoid catching COVID-19 while driving, CNN Business reported.
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- California law requires companies to provide PPE to employees but not independent contractors. The dispute marks the latest development in an ongoing labor rights dispute between rideshare workers and the companies such as Uber (NYSE:UBER), Doordash and Grubhub (NYSE:GRUB), which classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees.
- During the protest, free PPE was handed out to drivers, organized by industry labor advocacy groups Gig Workers Rising, We Drive Progress and Rideshare Drivers United, with funding and additional support from the Service Employees International Union.
- Lyft told CNN it spent $2.5 million on free PPE for its drivers in May and has since provided tens of thousands of drivers with free reusable face masks and cleaning supplies. Drivers, however, said that the free kit supplies from Lyft, containing one reusable mask and a small bottle of sanitizer, were never sufficient.
- The protest came less than a week after a Lyft company blog post indicated it would sell cleaning supplies, face masks and partitions to its drivers via a new online store. Lyft emphasized it doesn’t make a profit on the PPE it sells and said drivers can still pick up free PPE at Lyft hubs in U.S. cities including Oakland.
- InvestorPlace contributor Chris Markoch earlier this week noted that ride-sharing services were already becoming a commodity before the pandemic. “Since the economy fell off a cliff, the limitations of the model are fully exposed,” he wrote, adding that Lyft faces long odds to growth as its market is likely to shrink.
Article printed from InvestorPlace Media, https://investorplace.com/2020/07/lyft-drivers-accuse-company-of-not-providing-enough-protective-gear/.
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