Concert workers are looking for support centers where they can rest, charge and pee

Concert worker advocacy group We Drive Progress, affiliated with local union SEIU Local 1021, on Thursday launched a campaign calling on concert companies like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash to create “support centers” for concert workers. carrying passengers and delivery orders with their vehicles, hoping to have a “hub” per square mile in Bay Area cities including San Francisco, Oakland and San Mateo.

As part of the launch, members of We Drive Progress and SEIU Local 1021 distributed personal protective equipment, including masks and hand sanitizer outside a ghost kitchen in Soma in 60 Morris Street, where UberEats and DoorDash workers collect food orders for delivery.

A SEIU union representative gives protective equipment to driver Fernanda Machry.

Several workers said the hubs are needed for access to toilets, access to PPE and places to charge electric scooters, bicycles and smartphones, or to park their cars, especially in the city center of San Francisco, where rides are plentiful but parking is often scarce.

“There’s nowhere to park in San Francisco, downtown. I need to have a place to park, rest, use the toilet, ”said Castellanos. “It would be nice to have these places around the Bay Area.”

Workers also said access to toilets is limited, as companies often do not have access to public toilets or require a purchase to access the toilets. Workers say they shouldn’t have to pay for toilet access as part of their job for concert businesses, and say even finding a toilet can be more difficult because they don’t know where they will be at. at some point due to the randomness of where food orders are coming from.

“There’s no place to hook up, go to the bathroom, buy supplies… DoorDash could do more, but they choose not to,” said Ryan G, a Dasher who delivers orders from. food on an electric bike who asked to use their last initial due to DoorDash fears of retaliation.

For Castellanos, access to free PPE is a problem as he cannot know in advance where exactly customers will be when they request groceries, making it difficult to access the Uber Greenlight Hub in West Oakland, which distributes free PPE, but only by appointment, according to Castellanos.

“I don’t know where my journey will take me… it is impractical to go to hubs to collect PPE,” Castellanos said.

Jennifer Estteen, organizational vice president of SEIU Local 1021, said hubs are needed in part because of Proposition 22, which enshrined in law the status of concert workers as a independent contractors and included provisions to ensure that drivers are only paid for ‘committed time’ or the time that drivers are actively transporting food or people in their vehicles, but not while waiting, which may affect driver income.

“These hubs have become out of sheer necessity,” Estteen said. “Right now, these companies that make billions of dollars a year are still not providing their workforce. “

Another common problem for gig workers where they think hubs would help is sorting out customer service complaints resulting from factors beyond the workers’ control, such as heavy traffic slowing down drivers or restaurants getting the wrong way. a customer’s order, which can result in a customer complaint that can end up punishing the driver.

Castellanos said he was suspended from driving for Uber for three days in 2018 after a customer complained to Uber claiming that Castellanos was drunk on his Uber ride to San Francisco International Airport, but Castellanos denies this, saying the real reason this customer was unhappy was because of the heavy traffic on the way to the airport.

Uber did not respond to requests for comment on the Castellanos suspension or the customer’s complaint.

Esteen agreed that giving drivers a face-to-face connection with companies’ customer service is a high priority with the help centers they claim, as drivers say their communication with companies about customer complaints can often go unanswered.

“What I’ve heard from drivers over and over is that no matter when they try to get help from these companies, it’s almost impossible… sometimes they get turned off for reasons they don’t. can’t even understand, ”Estteen said. “If these companies were to provide one customer service link per hub or one out of five hubs, that would be a huge victory. “

Ryan G believes that one possible solution would be for gig companies to partner with a national co-working space like WeWork and offer discounted memberships.

“They can take this idea for free,” said Ryan G. “There’s a huge workforce with no break rooms, that’s nonsense.”

Ryan G spends $ 400 a month on subscriptions to three coworking spaces in San Francisco, where they use outlets to charge their bikes, phones, and relax indoors.

“It’s nice to have a table inside out of the rain,” said Ryan G.

Concert companies DoorDash, Uber, Lyft, and Instacart did not respond to requests for comment.

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