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Lyft’s Online Store Sells PPE Supplies To Drivers, Infuriating Some

Lyft drivers are slamming the ridesharing firm for promoting private protecting gear (PPE) to its drivers via a web-based retailer — saying masks and different security provides needs to be offered to them at no cost. 

“It’s such an unreasonable and overall ridiculous level of cynicism to sell your workers the protective gear that they need for the risks that you expose them to and profit from,” mentioned California Lyft driver Edan Alva. “There’s nothing about it that resembles trying to protect their drivers.”

The Lyft Store sells objects like reusable and disposable masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant, and extra made by Mission Prepared Options, Inc. The web site says that there’s no markup costs on this stuff and that drivers pay wholesale costs (not together with the transport price).

However drivers for the rideshare firm referred to as the transfer to promote merchandise “outrageous” since they are saying they’ve seen little effort from Lyft to supply security provides through the coronavirus pandemic. 

Mario Tama/Getty Pictures

Lyft introduced a $6.5 million initiative for coronavirus help in April. The corporate mentioned it had devoted $2.5 million in cleansing provides and face masks to drivers. 

A Lyft spokesperson instructed Digital Developments that the corporate doesn’t revenue off of the PPE that’s accessible to buy on its on-line retailer.

“All cleaning supplies and safety products are provided to drivers either for free or at cost,” the spokesperson mentioned. “The Lyft Store is a resource to provide millions of drivers across the U.S. easy access to cleaning supplies and face masks that have consistently been difficult to find.”

The spokesperson added that Lyft has given out 150,000 sanitizing merchandise and masks at no cost. 

However Alva instructed Digital Developments he has solely been capable of get hand sanitizer from his native Lyft hub, and even then, he needed to pay for it. The opposite instances he went again to get extra provides, he was instructed they’d run out.

As an alternative, drivers have resorted to organizing their very own PPE donation drives to distribute the much-needed provides to drivers who want it. Alva’s group, Gig Employees Rising, held one in every of these drives, and different teams like We Drive Progress have achieved comparable distribution drives as effectively. 

California Lyft driver Alan Franklin mentioned final month’s We Drive Progress drive equipped him with issues just like the gloves, hand sanitizer, masks, and disinfectant wipes he must do his job on daily basis. That drive was donation-based, however Franklin mentioned he has spent lots of of {dollars} of his personal cash on provides, slightly than Lyft offering them. 

“The two things that are happening simultaneously is that there are a lot less rides because of COVID, and our expenses are subsequently up in providing this PPE for ourselves,” he instructed Digital Developments. 

Whereas drivers assume having to purchase important security merchandise from their very own firm is backward, it additionally might not be authorized, no less than in California.

Present laws from California’s Division of Occupational Security and Well being require employers to implement efficient measures to guard staff, together with offering free PPE provides. It requires employers to “provide employees with cloth face coverings or allow them to use their own and reimburse them for the cost.”

California regulators declared Lyft drivers as staff in a June ruling.

Each Franklin and Alva agree that the corporate isn’t doing sufficient to supply its drivers — who’re thought-about important employees — with the right provides to do their jobs safely.

“The biggest concern we have as drivers is we are exposed to this just to make a living every day,” Franklin mentioned. 

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