Uber driver stays afloat amid coronavirus, chef’s program helps laid-off restaurant workers

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James Hicks’ Nissan that he uses for Uber rides. Photo courtesy of Hicks

Service industry and gig economy workers are getting hit hard by the fallout from COVID-19. For Uber and Lyft drivers, business has dried up. Fewer people are commuting, coming home from clubs and bars. This comes months after the landmark Dynamex ruling that gave drivers employee status and benefits. 

We talk to James Hicks, a full-time Uber driver and member of the Rideshare Drivers United organizing committee. He’s still driving. We ask what types of places he’s taking passengers to right now, and whether he thinks he’ll survive financially.

James Hicks. Photo courtesy of Hicks

We also hear from Nancy Silverton, co-owner of Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza. She’s turning her restaurants on Melrose Avenue into a relief center for others in the business who’ve been laid off or have had a significant reduction in hours and pay. Here’s more info about the program.


The interior of Pizzeria Mozza. Photo credit: Anne Fishbein
Credits

Guests:
James Hicks - Uber driver; Rideshare Drivers United organizing committee, Nancy Silverton - Mozza restaurants - @NancySilverton

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Alexandra Sif Tryggvadottir, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin