Ride-hailing service drivers had been planning a protest Wednesday over what they called an inadequate number of restrooms and hand-washing facilities at Los Angeles International Airport’s holding lot for the drivers, but an agreement was reached Monday night with airport officials.
“This victory demonstrates the power of drivers coming together and standing united,” said Linda Valdivia, an Uber driver and an organizer with the Mobile Workers Alliance. “…Wins like this strengthen our resolve and prove that we can do what many people claim is impossible.”
With an agreement reached, the drivers have scrubbed their planned protest.
Officials with Los Angeles World Airports, the airport’s operator, said they will add three restrooms and two external hand-washing facilities at the holding lot, and they’ll be maintained twice a day.
Heath Montgomery, a spokesman for LAWA, said the airport received the request Monday night for additional restrooms and hand-washing stations.
“We currently have five portable lavatories with hand-washing stations inside the unit and one ADA-accessible lavatory at the holding lot,” Montgomery said. “These facilities are maintained twice daily by Los Angeles World Airports and provide drivers a chance to use the bathroom and/or clean their hands while waiting for their next passenger.”
LAWA officials sent an email to the Mobile Workers Alliance offering to meet with drivers for further discussions.
Drivers said before the promise of new facilities, thousands of drivers who utilize the holding lot every day had endured problems. The holding lot is for ride-hailing drivers and taxis to use prior to picking up passengers.
“The toilets were often filthy, with human waste and trash spilling over onto the walls, floor and surrounding areas,” according to an MWA statement. “Drivers forced to use the portable toilets do so at serious personal risk, with at least one driver being hospitalized after contracting severe conjunctivitis.”
MWA circulated petitions calling for improved restroom facilities on Feb. 12 and collected more than 1,000 signatures in the first 24 hours, representatives of the alliance said.
With the airport agreeing to add facilities, the drivers plan to hold a victory lunch instead of their previously scheduled protest.
“At the end of the day, we want respect like any other employee has. We want safe and sanitary working conditions, not just for ourselves, but for our passengers,” MWA driver Jasmine Herrera said.
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