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June 1, 2022

Pressley, Markey, Warren, Colleagues Demand App-Based Delivery Companies Prioritize Driver Safety Following Worker Deaths

Uber Letter | Lyft Letter | DoorDash Letter | GrubHub Letter | Instacart Letter 

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) led five of their colleagues in sending letters today to the CEOs of Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Grubhub, and Instacart stressing the need for app-based delivery companies to prioritize the health and safety of their workers, and to answer for their lack of transparency and accountability in addressing the dangers of ride-share driving and delivery. The letters follow a recent report, published by advocacy group Gig Workers Rising, which found that at least 50 app-based workers have been killed on the job in the United States since 2017, and that 63 percent of those workers killed in the last five years were people of color. In spite of these dangers, the companies have refused to disclose sufficient information regarding attacks on their workers. 

“The app-based delivery business model increases the danger,” the lawmakers wrote in their letters to the CEOs of Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Grubhub, and Instacart. “Many app-based delivery companies are known to have tracked their drivers’ cancellation and acceptance rates, and penalized drivers for cancelling or not accepting rides. No driver should face punishment for legitimately declining a ride or delivery they believe would place them in a dangerous situation. Higher pay would also reduce the pressure on drivers to accept rides they deem unsafe.” 

“App-based delivery workers are some of the most vulnerable workers in our economy, but [the companies have] not sufficiently protected and supported them in the face of a global pandemic, increasing violence, and economic instability,” the lawmakers continued. “Your refusal to grant them basic insurance and benefits, even in the face of death on the job, and despite their key role in your business, is unacceptable.” 

The lawmakers requested the app-based delivery companies’ CEOs provide a response to the letters by June 21st, specifically: 

  1. How and when the company classifies an app-based delivery worker as ‘working,’
  2. Information on worker safety incidents over the past five years,
  3. If app-based delivery workers are notified of ongoing on-the-job emergencies or dangerous situations that could affect their health or safety,
  4. If family members or next of kin are notified if an app-based delivery worker dies on the job,
  5. If any compensation has been paid to, or if a company insurer paid any claim on behalf of, an app-based delivery worker or their family for an on-the-job injury or death,
  6. If the company offers occupational injury protection or accident protection to its app-based delivery workers, and
  7. If app-based delivery workers are required to sign an arbitration agreement to work. 

Joining the lawmakers in sending the letters are Representatives Stephen Lynch (MA-08), Seth Moulton (MA-06), and Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT). 

Throughout her time in public service, Congresswoman Pressley has been an outspoken champion for workers’ rights. Her first piece of congressional legislation ever introduced was the Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act to demand back pay for thousands of low-wage contract service employees impacted by government shut downs. She has advocated for expanding paid leave protections for every worker, protecting the right of every worker to join a union, including Congressional staff, and has introduced a resolution for a Federal Job Guarantee, which will help the United States achieve the promise of full employment, ensure a just, equitable recovery, establish a more resilient and inclusive economy, and begin to close racial and gender income gaps.