Delivering Food in D.C. Has Always Been a Tough Job. Then Came a Pandemic.

The delivery worker who fetches your falafel has always faced a gauntlet of obstacles while earning minimal pay. Every third-party company has an algorithm that takes time and ingenuity to master. Takeout pirates can grab food that isn’t theirs. Bad weather can derail a bike courier. A parking ticket can cancel out a driver’s income. And forget about finding a bathroom.

“These workers are isolated,” says Katie Wells, a postdoctoral research fellow at Georgetown University’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor. She’s been studying gig workers, like delivery drivers, in D.C. for four years. “They internalize workplace difficulties as personal failures. ‘I wasn’t smart enough to make it work.’ Or, ‘I didn’t work hard enough.’” Instead, Wells argues, delivery drivers should be asking why the system sets them up to fail.

. . .

Some individuals who drive for ride-hailing apps are trying out food delivery because they worry about having passengers in their cars. “A number of drivers who didn’t do food delivery have gotten into food delivery for the first time or drastically ramped that up,” says Taylor Woods from rideshare driver advocacy group Drive United. “Food delivery is not seen as a liberating mechanism, but more of a necessary evil.”

Source: Washington City Paper

Uber and Lyft resist NYC minimum wage, drivers push back

Drivers in New York City are fighting back against new rules imposed by Uber and Lyft. Traffic was brought to a halt last week as a convoy of about 1,000 drivers assembled to demonstrate against the new rules, targeting the Brooklyn Bridge and FDR Drive for congestion.

The demonstration was organized to protest how Uber and Lyft are stopping drivers from accessing the company platforms at times when demand is low. The two companies started freezing drivers from their apps after city officials enacted rules setting a rideshare minimum wage at $27.86 per hour (roughly $17.22 after expenses).

Organizers with the Independent Drivers Guild planned the protest. The group says the companies are violating city rules by blocking access to their apps and “shifting the costs of travel and waiting time onto the drivers.”


Employment classification bill becomes law in California

Legislation that would narrow the definition of “independent contractor” was signed into law on Wednesday by California Governor Gavin Newsom. If upheld by the courts, the bill will force companies like Uber and Lyft to classify workers in California as “employees,” if they meet certain criteria.

The three part-test was outlined last year in a state Supreme Court opinion. Workers should be considered employees, the ruling found, if they form a core part of the company’s business, if they perform their duties as directed by management, or if they have established their own independent business.

Though many industries are exempt from the legislation, the rideshare industry is not. Uber and Lyft have campaigned against the initiative, and are contributing toward a $90 million lobbying push to annul the law through a referendum.

Both companies are claiming the legislation will hinder driver flexibility. Supporters of the initiative, which will give Uber and Lyft drivers more rights and benefits, say this mischaracterizes the impact of the law. One Los Angeles-based group called Rideshare Drivers United said flexibility claims amount to “scare tactics the companies are using to force drivers to cede their rights as employees.”

Sources: The Los Angeles Times, L.A. Rideshare Drivers United.

Press Release: Rideshare Drivers in Washington, D.C. to Protest Uber, Lyft in Solidarity with Striking Rideshare Drivers Nationwide

For Immediate Release:

May 6, 2019

For More Information Contact:

Jeffrey Dugas



D.C.-based organization Drive United to hold action at Reagan National Airport to stand with striking drivers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, rideshare drivers from the D.C.-based Drive United will protest Uber, Lyft, and other app-based rideshare corporations at Reagan National Airport to stand in solidarity with striking drivers in Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Stamford, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Francisco, and around the world.

Like drivers striking in cities nationwide, rideshare drivers in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia region face declining wages, lack of healthcare, no paid time off, and no worker protections. Drive United is a grassroots, independent, driver-run organization dedicated to empowering drivers in the Washington, D.C.-area who try to make a living through rideshare apps.

“Today’s action is about clearly stating that drivers’ livelihoods should not be dependent on the whims of tech CEOs,” stated Stan De La Cruz, a founding member of Drive United who has been driving for Lyft and Uber for over three years and has completed over 5,000 total trips. “We deserve to be safe on the job, we deserve healthcare, and we deserve to earn a living wage.”

Since November 2018, Drive United members have been canvassing rideshare drivers at Reagan National Airport regularly to connect with drivers and listen to their concerns.

“We’ve spoken with hundreds of drivers, and they know that it’s wrong for Lyft and Uber executives to make millions while drivers can’t afford healthcare,” added De La Cruz. “Many of us share the same concerns, which is why we’re calling on drivers to join us and demand that Uber, Lyft, and other app-based corporations hear our voice.”

Drive United is asking rideshare drivers and supporters in the D.C. region to show their support by signing up at

For more information, please contact Jeffrey Dugas at 978-257-0859.


Drive United is a grassroots, independent, driver-run organization dedicated to empowering drivers in the Washington, D.C.-area who try to make a living through rideshare apps.

May 8th Actions in DC

Drivers around the country and around the world are striking on May 8th to protest Uber. While the company is preparing for its IPO, drivers are mobilizing to say: it’s unacceptable that executives accumulate obscene amounts of wealth while drivers work long weeks, struggling just to make ends meet.

We at Drive United plan on rallying Wednesday evening in the DC area to show solidarity with striking drivers in Los Angeles, Chicago, London, Glasgow, and elsewhere. Get in touch if you want more information, or keep checking this webpage for more details closer to May 8th.