California gas rebate: How will it affect rideshare, delivery drivers?

As average gas prices in California continue to rise and top record averages, rideshare and Amazon Flex delivery drivers are holding a rally Thursday to demand higher pay. 

The rally held outside an Amazon facility is attended by drivers with the Mobile Workers Alliance, Amazon Flex, Uber, and Lyft, who are calling on tech giants to give them higher pay amid rising fuel costs.

Drivers plan to hold regular, ongoing rallies until action is taken by the companies. 

Due to Prop 22, rideshare drivers in California classify as independent contractors, which means they aren’t eligible for legal protection under federal labor laws like the right to minimum wage, overtime, or to unionize.

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Rally organizer Tim Sandoval said it's still not enough. 

"We know that drivers are really hurting out there in LA, Long Beach. Gas prices have reached above $6 per gallon. Fifty-five cents or 50 cents isn't really going to cover that.. we know there are a lot of drivers out there who are upset about this issue."

Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel issued the following statement to FOX 11 in response:

"Our delivery partners play an important role in serving customers every day. We’re closely monitoring the situation and listening to their concerns. Amazon Flex delivery partners earn over $26 per hour on average. We've already made several adjustments through pricing surges in impacted areas to help ease some of the financial challenges for our delivery partners and as the situation evolves, we’ll continue to make changes where we can to help support our partners."

Last week, Uber and Lyft announced they were rolling out fuel surcharges to help offset the rising cost of gas. Uber’s new fee went into efect on March 16, which adds about 45 to 50 cents for each trip depending on distance and 35 to 45 cents for each UberEats delivery. Uber’s fuel surcharge will be in effect for 60 days before the company says it’ll reassess and Lyft said it plans to implement similar measures. 

The rally comes a day after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a proposal Wednesday to help Californians battling some of the highest gas prices in the U.S., including $400 rebates to all drivers in the state, as well as a plan to make public transit temporarily free.

Under the proposed $11 billion relief package, $9 billion will go to rebates for registered drivers. Drivers will be eligible for $400 per vehicle, up to two vehicles per person, which adds up to $800. The rebate will come in the form of $400 debit card issued to all registered vehicle owners. Electric vehicles will also be included. 

Another $2 billion will go towards other things such as free public transportation for three months; a pause on inflation adjustments to gas and diesel excise tax rates; and incentives to prioritize biking and walking projects throughout the state, to name a few. 

Newsom's proposal comes just a week after California lawmakers proposed a similar $400 gas rebate for all taxpayers. Under this proposal, every California who files their taxes will receive a rebate—including those who don’t own or drive a car.

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