San Francisco gig workers want more rights

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Dozens of gig workers, from rideshare drivers to nannies, testified in front of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee Friday. They are asking the city to support Assembly Bill 5 which would grant gig workers more rights and benefits.

One by one they shared what life is like working in San Francisco when you're not a full-time employee.

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"In order to support my family I have to work every single day more than 10 hours, 11 hours, 12 hours every single day," said Uber and Lyft driver Eric Zhang.

Zhang has a three-year-old and one-year-old but says he hardly gets to spend any time with them or his wife.

Rebecca Stack-Martinez is an organizer for Gig Workers Rising.

"What once used to be a lucrative gig has turned into a job that you have to work 70, 80 hours a week just to survive," said Stack-Martinez.

In an emailed statement to ABC7 News, Lyft writes, "Lyft is advocating for an approach in line with the interests of our driver community, by modernizing century-old labor laws that make it difficult to provide both flexibility and benefits. That's why we're working with lawmakers and labor leaders on a different solution so drivers can continue to control where, when, and how long they drive. Our goal is to preserve drivers' independence and flexibility while guaranteeing a minimum earnings floor, establishing worker-directed portable benefits, and creating a new association in partnership with labor groups to administer the benefits that best meet drivers' individual needs."

An Uber spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement, "We support efforts to modernize labor laws in ways that preserve the flexibility drivers tell us they value while improving the quality and security of independent work."

It's not just rideshare drivers fighting for benefits.

Nanny Elaina Decoeur says after 20 years she now requires a contract with paid time off and sick days from the families she works with, but she knows she's the exception.

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"They're worried that if they bring this up and they stress these points to their employers they're going to be threatened with deportation. They're going to be threatened with unemployment or there's going to be some retaliation against them," said Decoeur.

Which is why all of the workers say they support Assembly Bill 5 which they say would give them a voice, a living wage and benefits.
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