Buttigieg joins Uber, Lyft drivers protesting in California

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg joined Uber and Lyft drivers protesting in San Francisco on Tuesday to advocate for a bill classifying them as protected employees.

The South Bend, Ind., mayor’s appearance comes a day after he unveiled a new plan to expand gig workers’ rights, specifically targeting large tech companies like Uber.

“I’m here because where I come from, gig is another word for job, which means if you’re working a gig, that makes you a worker, and you ought to be protected as a worker,” Buttigieg told demonstrators.

“That means you deserve a minimum wage. That means you deserve protections from workplace and sexual harassment. That means you deserve overtime protection. And yes, that means you deserve a union,” he added. 

In his plan, Buttigieg hammered tech companies for labeling gig workers “independent contractors,” which can limit benefits.{mosads}

The White House hopeful also called for a guarantee for all workers to have the ability to join a union, specifically citing independent contractors such as Lyft and Uber drivers. The plan proposes “multimillion-dollar penalties for employer interference in union elections and workers’ rights.”

“They say that these technology companies are the future of the American workforce. I think that might be right,” Buttigieg said Tuesday.

“So do we want a future where there are no protections, no unions and workers are not treated as workers? Or do you want a future with justice? Do you want a future where you have the rights afforded to you by that representation? Do we want a better future for everybody working, whether it is full time in a traditional economy or not? Will we stand up for that? I think the answer is yes,” he said.

Several Democratic presidential candidates have appeared at protests demanding unions or other worker protections in the lead-up to the primary as the party works to win back blue-collar voters who historically have backed Democrats but voted for President Trump in 2016.

Tags Donald Trump Pete Buttigieg

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