Ubah Dahraan, an Uber driver and single mom of four, says the loss of income she is suffering has been devastating.
The Drivers Union, comprised of Uber and Lyft drivers, and the Western Washington Taxi Cab Operators Association, both affiliates of Teamsters Local 117, are urging elected executives and rideshare companies to take immediate action to provide drivers with emergency relief to mitigate the devastating economic and public health impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.
In an Open Letter sent today to corporate executives and elected leaders in city, county, and state government, the union is calling for up to $1,000 per week in emergency income stabilization for all drivers who have been impacted by the crisis, rent and mortgage assistance, a moratorium on evictions, and the elimination of commissions on all trips.
“I worked 12 hours yesterday and made only $50,” said Aamar Khan, a wheelchair-accessible taxi driver. “If everything gets shut down, I can’t imagine making any more. I don’t know how I’m going to pay my bills next month. We need assistance and certainty so that we can survive. Otherwise, we’re going to end up on the street.”
"We need assistance and certainty so that we can survive. Otherwise, we’re going to end up on the street."
Drivers rely on passenger trips at Seatac Airport, from the technology sector, and at major public events to support themselves. Over the last few days, they say that work has completely dried up. Many Uber, Lyft and taxi drivers are already reporting a more than 80% decrease in their income.
“I’m a single mom with four kids,” said Uber driver Ubah Dahraan. “I can’t stay home because I need the money to support my kids. On the other side, it’s not safe to work at this time. My kids ask me every day, ‘Mommy, if you go outside, you think you can come back safe?’ Also, they ask me, ‘How are we going to survive?’ I don’t know what to tell them.”
Uber, Lyft, and taxi drivers are on the front lines of both the public health and economic impacts of this crisis. Yet unlike most workers, drivers do not have access to paid sick days or employer-provided health insurance.
“Workers across many industries are hurting right now as a result of the COVID-19 crisis that has affected our region,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. “But unlike other workers, Uber, Lyft and taxi drivers don’t have access to basic workplace protections to ensure their health, safety, and economic well-being. Drivers are facing a profound economic crisis. They need government and business to step in an provide emergency economic assistance now.”