In the United States, Uber Technologies Inc. (NYSE:UBER) and LYFT Inc. (NASDAQ:LYFT) are classified as gig workers; hence they are eligible to receive unemployment benefits. The state Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board passed this in 2018. The current Covid-19 pandemic has brought the world to a standstill. Lockdowns are not only internationally but also locally. The ride-hailing apps have been hit hard.
New York was a city in crisis, and according to drivers, they have not received any benefits for two months. As a result and through the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, some drivers have filed a lawsuit against Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his Labor Department
Thousands of Drivers Can Hardly Provide For Their Families
In the recent past, drivers have continued to raise their voices demanding the protections afforded to employees. Some states like California and New York have granted them though in variable degrees. Unfortunately, some companies are of the notion that drivers are contractors even though the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board declared them employees.
Despite the issue being settled over a year ago, some drivers can hardly put food on the table for their families. It is devastating, according to one of the plaintiffs M.D. Islam. He says, “I don’t want any special treatment. I just want the benefits that the state owes me. I work hard and follow the rules to support my family. The state should also follow the rules and pay drivers what we are owed so we can survive this crisis.”
Cuomo Administration Responds To the Claims by Uber and Lyft Drivers
According to the 2018 ruling, which recognized Lyft and Uber drivers as employees, their companies are obligated to provide wage and employment data to the state just like they do for other workers. The state continues to demand the same data even though they have already submitted it.
Meanwhile, the Cuomo administration has countered the claims of the drivers citing that it is leaving no stone unturned to ensure every employee received their benefits, including the drivers. It has also confirmed that drivers are not treated any less of other workers. That said, it remains to be seen how the administration navigates around to settle the lawsuit.