More than 100 Uber drivers, drivers' family members and members of the Teamsters union were in attendance Tuesday for a rally outside the Uber offices in Santa Monica.
Lotfi Benyedder, an Uber driver of about three years, was the primary rally spokesman at the 7th Street protest that addressed drivers' issues with Uber policies.
"There is no way you are going to solve the problem by yourself, we need to be one voice," Benyedder said to the crowd.
Since Uber drivers are independent contractors, they are unable to officially unionize. The Uber rallies are becoming more popular since the drivers are attempting to form an association to better their work situation.
Uber drivers are disconcerted with several issues from the car service company. Drivers demand that corporate policies be changed, otherwise they feel drivers and clients will remain at risk on the road and policies will continue to hinder their ability to make a living wage.
Benyedder and drivers advocated for "Public Safety" through chants "AB612" and "AB 2293." Benyedder reminded the rally of the case on Sophia Liu from January. The Uber company firmly opposes assembly bills 612 and 2293 as the bills would require ridesharing companies to buy coverage for the contracted vehicles at all times as opposed to only when the car is carrying a fare.
Among the drivers' complaints are issues with the driver rating system. Benyedder said:
The [rating] system in unfair. A driver was given one star and was deactivated from the system for five days, the guy has kids to feed, has family, has bills and he was not able to drive because a difficult client gave him one star. He sent several emails to Uber and they did not respond until after six days and then they wanted him to take a class, when it was not even his fault. This rating system needs to stop. No more rating! If the client wants to give feedback they can always send an email and have a fair process of deactivation and hear what the other side has to say.
The rally concluded with chants "Insure the drivers!" and "Ratings must go!"