Biden signs deal with Uber and Lyft on behalf of vaccines


Joe Biden has president for only four months, but he’s already been hailed as the most pro-union leader in the country since Franklin Delano Roosevelt showed up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He wants to make your job easier for workers to unionize and raise the national minimum wage to $ 15. He opposed Proposition 22, the California election measure that allowed concert platforms like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash to continue to treat their workers like independent contractors. In March, he supported the union (condemned) in a warehouse in Amazonia, Alabama. “The unions put the power in the hands of the workers,” he said at the time. “They level the playing field.”

On Tuesday, however, Biden frustrated some worker advocates when he announced a deal with ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft to bring more Americans to vaccination sites – despite his unease with their business model. The program, which starts on May 24, will direct app users to nearby vaccination sites and cover $ 15 trips both ways. Lyft says that, based on previous trips to vaccination sites, it expects the amount to cover “most, if not all” of the fares to and from the sites.

Turns out, Biden has other priorities and a self-imposed deadline: He wants Americans to feel safe attending the normal (ish) July 4th barbecues. The White House has set a goal of getting at least one shot of Covid-19 to 70% of American adults by the summer vacation. At this point, 59% of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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“The vaccine is the key to getting us all moving again, and we are proud to do our part to move the country forward,” John Zimmer, co-founder and president of Lyft, said in a statement. partnership a “moment of pride for me, for Uber and for our country”.

But union activists said on Tuesday that the deal put the White House at odds with some of the principles laid out by its leaders. “If this is something that this administration has agreed to, it does not bode well for what we will see in terms of enforcement measures,” says Veena Dubal, professor of labor law at UC Hastings College of the Law.

So far, the Democratic administration has shown lukewarm support for changing the rules on the classification of workers. Today, all states allow companies like Uber and Lyft to treat their drivers and delivery people like independent contractors, who can log in to work on the app at any time but are not entitled to traditional benefits such as health insurance and workers’ compensation. Last week Labor Secretary Marty Walsh told Reuters, “In many cases, construction workers should be classified as employees.” He named David Weil, a former member appointed by Obama and spokesperson for Uber, to lead the department’s wages and hours division. The labor department last week also repealed a Trump administration rule that union activists feared would be used to maintain the independent contractor status of performing workers. The ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

CDC has lack of transport identified as a factor preventing people, and especially vulnerable populations, from getting vaccinated. After listening sessions with local groups and agencies held earlier this year, the recommended agency Governments are working with community and faith-based organizations, Medicaid and Medicare programs, transportation companies, and ridesharing services to get more hugs. A number of cities, states and public transport agencies already offer free transportation programs to vaccination sites.


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