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The beginning of our fight

Jurek Martinez

13 ene 2024

In the quest to end abuse

We know that many drivers, mainly in Florida, are afraid to demand and fight for better working conditions in ride-sharing services. This is due to fear of losing access to their work with Uber and Lyft. Many of these drivers use the reason that "it is their only economic income" and they do not want to lose it.

While in other US states and cities people are speaking out, creating campaigns, uniting and fighting, in Florida there is panic. This is because the culture of Latinos is different from any other. The Ride-Sharing companies know this, which is why they exploit us beyond measure.

In the group that we have managed to organize, we are all Latinos. We are all immigrants. Many of us have been driving for these companies since 2014, and we are NOT afraid. Our need to improve and return to the times when our work, time, and resources offered had value is much stronger than the fear we may have. Ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft cannot suspend you from their platforms for simply joining a cause and fighting for it. That action is illegal and can be taken to court, where these companies would have to pay up to $45,000 in damages and unjustified measures. We know lawyers who work on these types of cases.

On the main issue, the fight has already begun. Our group was created about 5 months ago. Since then, we have organized ourselves, we have analyzed all the problems that exist and the new ones that arise. We have discussed how we can act and have drawn up an action plan. During this time we tried to explain to the drivers that protests, of any kind, against Uber and Lyft are not the solution to the issues. We can protest 100 times in 1 year, it will not generate any positive effect, since the main issue lies in the lack of legal control over the Ride-Sharing companies. These companies can legally do and undo as they please. If they decide to pay the drivers $0.30 cents per mile and $0 per minute, they are free to do so. What is the solution? Simple, find a way for these companies to be regulated for the good of everyone, customers, and drivers.

Since last November 2023, several of us in the group have set out to seek these changes. We are in contact with numerous offices of the city of Miami. We are in contact with many officials who are interested in seeking a change, we are in contact with legislators from Miami and very soon with some from Broward and West Palm Beach. Our next step is to meet with some of them to showcase all the problems we are facing and the possible legal solutions. We hope to be able to take our proposal to the next session of Florida legislators in March 2024.

My message to everyone is the following. Don't wait for others to solve the problems you have, join the fight. Your support gives us strength, it allows us to show people that we are getting closer to the magnitude of the issue. Fear paralyzes you and does not generate changes or improvements. There is no reason to fear, and it shows that you are not ignorant enough to be manipulated by these companies.

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