How are gig workers exploited? Follow the money.

6 mins read

How are gig workers exploited? Follow the money.

Multi-billion dollar firms deny gig workers health insurance, death benefits and the right to organize.

“Gig workers are classified as independent contractors. That designation obscures a loophole in the law that prevents gig workers from receiving the same rights and benefits as regular employees in the United States, such as a minimum wage, the right to join or form a union, workers compensation insurance, or even paid sick days.” Los Deliveristas Unidos

Uber Eats, DoorDash and InstaCart spending millions to lobby to deny workers their rights. See how passing the PRO Act will help workers earn a decent living and working conditions with this PowerMap.

Share this Power Map freely with this link

Unscrupulous employers

“Ligia Guallpa is Executive Director of the Worker’s Justice Project, which works with low-wage immigrant laborers through Los Deliveristas Unidos, an app workers’ advocacy group. According to her, Vitinio’s cousin is a gig worker and a member of Los Deliveristas Unidos. Guallpa says that while deliverers faced violence on the job pre-COVID, it’s gotten much worse since the pandemic began. Workers also face “unscrupulous employment or contracting practices by the apps” for which they’re contractors, like DoorDash and Instacart.”

“Francisco Villalva Vitinio was on a shift as a DoorDash delivery courier around 11:00 PM in New York City on Monday, March 29, when, according to police, a man approached him in East Harlem’s Poor Richards Playground. The man demanded Vitinio’s electric-powered bicycle while brandishing a gun. Delivery workers for app-based companies like DoorDash use e-bikes to quickly navigate around the city, and they’re often targets of theft for them. Vitinio refused to give up his bike. The man shot him in the chest, killing him, and fled.” – Defector

Companies sidestep responsibility

“Dr. Patricia Campos-Medina, a gig labor expert and co-director of the Workers Institute at Cornell University, said that DoorDash’s response to Vitinio’s death was an example of the way that gig companies have been able to sidestep taking responsibility for worker injuries. DoorDash and other food delivery apps only pay a worker for the time spent on active deliveries. Unlike traditional delivery jobs, couriers are not compensated for time in between orders, when they’re sitting on their bikes in parks waiting for the next order to appear on their phones. They also do not cover job expenses, such as cell phone data plans, or traffic tickets.

“This is what the on demand platform allows,” Dr. Campos-Medina says. “It frees them from liability from taking responsibility for accidents on the jobs where people sign onto the platform as workers. That’s the wall they’ve created for themselves.” – Defector

How to use this Power Map


“The Pro Act would ban right-to-work laws that prohibit companies from requiring workers to join a union as a condition of employment, ban employers from permanently replacing strikers, implement more defined tests for determining an individual’s status as an independent contractor versus employee, protect the basic right to join a trade union and impose new civil penalties on employers for violations, including personal liability.

Ability to organize. The lawful ability to organize, Bain said, would allow gig workers a more legitimate foundation to leverage their grievances. “The PRO Act is absolutely necessary in order to start advancing work toward those other objectives,” she said. “We need to be able to flex our power, we need to be able to demand that our employer properly classifies us, we need to be able to demand that our employer pays workers compensation for us, we need to be able to negotiate our contracts.”

Recourse if killed or injured “So that in the event of us being killed or injured in our work, there is actual recourse and a way for workers to be able to replace income that they’re losing, or their families sort of replacing income that they’ve lost when they lose a loved one.” – Vanessa Montalbano

TakeAway: Stop mega-corporations and millionaire CEOs from exploiting gig workers. Pass the PRO Act!


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