Uber and Lyft drivers strike: What’s at stake for injured gig workers

Last month, Uber and Lyft drivers around the world went on a 24-hour strike to protest the effects of being classified as independent contractors. Unfortunately, that classification has shut gig workers out of the workers’ compensation system, leaving them vulnerable to disaster when they’re injured on the job.  The truth is that gig economy jobs tend to be riskier than traditional employment. Many involve driving and transportation services, which are inherently more dangerous.

In May of last year in Philadelphia, a 34-year-old bike courier for food-order Caviar was struck-and-killed by an SUV while delivering food during a rainstorm. Incidents like the May 2018 tragedy have resulted in a ramping up of efforts to organize gig workers, but most of those efforts have so far failed to produce tangible results like higher wages, better working conditions, health benefits and injury compensation. For now, one thing is certain—gig economy workers have sacrificed much of their rights in return for job flexibility.

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