At a memorial event in Inwood Hill Park held in May, coworkers and loved ones told stories of for-hire vehicle (FHV) and delivery drivers killed on the job in recent years, surrounded by portraits and white flowers. One was murdered for his e-bike, another killed by a reckless driver, still others died from COVID or suicide.
Together with family and community members, groups making up the Justice for App Workers coalition (https://justiceforappworkers.org) called for app companies and lawmakers to do more to ensure the safety of workers struggling to survive in a dangerous profession with seemingly insufficient protections.
The memorial event came a week after Zhiwen Yan – a father, husband, and beloved delivery worker – was tragically shot to death on the job in Forest Hills, Queens. Justice for App Workers member, the International Alliance of Delivery Workers (which represents hundreds of Chinese delivery workers in Queens), spoke about the fears that come from working an already dangerous job at a time when Asian Americans are increasingly being targeted with hate crimes.
According to a recent report, more than 50 gig workers have been killed on the job in the past five years, and their families have been left to face the financial and emotional burdens alone, without support from app companies. At the memorial event, Justice for App Workers honored more than a dozen New York-area workers killed on the job, many of whom were immigrants seeking a better life, including:
- Mohammed Hossain, a Lyft driver killed by a drunk driver
- Jose Henriquez, an Uber driver who passed away from COVID-19
- Salauddin Bablu, a bike delivery worker stabbed for his electric bike
- Xing Long Lin, a bike delivery worker murdered by a reckless driver
- Kuldip Singh, a 21 year old Uber driver shot during an attempted robbery
- Farhan Zahid, an Uber driver struck by a speeding driver going the wrong way
- Reza Hakim, an Uber driver who died from COVID-19
- Farooq Bhai, an Uber driver who lost his battle to COVID-19
- Salvador Navarrete Flores, a bike delivery worker who crashed into an illegally parked truck
- Ganiou Gandonou, an Uber driver fatally stabbed in this car
- Luis Martínez, an Uber driver who passed from COVID-19
- Emran Hossain, an Uber driver killed in a car accident while working
At the memorial, app workers called for policies to better protect them on the job. They demanded that app companies no longer allow customers to use fake names – a practice that makes it easier for criminals to target app workers in carjackings and violent assaults – and ensure all vehicles are equipped with dash cameras. In case of an attack, Justice for App Workers called for a better in-app alert system that allows victims to work directly with police. In cases of assault or death, drivers and delivery workers demanded app companies provide financial compensation for workers or their loved ones. They also called for the right to bargain with the app companies to advocate for safety in all aspects of their work.
The memorial also honored app and taxi drivers lost to suicide, a sadly all-too-common occurrence over the last several years. Drivers highlighted the stresses of the industry and called for greater access to free or affordable mental health care.
The Justice for App Workers coalition currently consists of NYC Rideshare Club, United Delivery Workers Association, International Alliance of Delivery Workers, the Independent Drivers Guild, Long Island Uber & Lyft Network, Black Car Mafia, UzBER, Utany, and NYC Drivers Unite, and is rapidly organizing. The coalition is advocating for living wages, a safe working environment, an end to unfair account deactivation, quality healthcare benefits, reliable, safe bathroom access, and the right to form a union.
Source: Justice for App Workers