Shareholder proposal raising health and safety issues faced by Uber drivers called for enhanced policies/practices to protect workers.
NEW YORK, NY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2023 - Today, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) announced that a first-year shareholder proposal submitted by one of its members, Achmea Investment Management, calling for an independent third-party audit on driver health and safety failed to pass at the company’s May 8th meeting of shareholders.
The health and safety proposal was prompted by reports gathered by the Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE) of a growing worker health and safety crisis among ride-hail companies which indicates that roughly forty percent of all app drivers have experienced some form of violence at the hands of passengers. This includes 52 app workers who were murdered on the job between 2017 and 2022, and the risk of violence is significantly worse for drivers of color and those who are women.
"Uber needs to address the health and safety crisis that we face,” said Ted Parks, an Uber driver for six years and a member of the Chicago Gig Alliance. “When I step into my car, I'm worried about my safety, and I'm worried about making it back home to my family - to my two kids. If Uber had implemented Achmea’s proposal, it would have been a critical step forward in addressing the crisis. Drivers thank shareholders for sounding the alarm, and now we urge the company to do the right thing and support its workforce."
Uber is the largest ride-hail company in the world, with a market cap of $75.8 billion; it also leads its competitors in driver safety violations. In 2021 in California alone, regulators reported 6,083 safety incidents, including 789 “assault and harassment cases” involving Uber. The company has a well-documented track record of using regulatory loopholes to avoid providing adequate worker protections, which has left its drivers facing pervasive health and safety issues.
Said Nadira Narine, ICCR’s Sr. Program Director of Strategic Initiatives, “An independent assessment as requested by the resolution would provide Uber with critical information about the impacts of its business model, with an eye to reforming its policies and practices to the benefit of its global workforce.”
Investors engaging the company say they have often been stymied by a lack of consistent, comparable incident data. Uber does not publicly disclose comprehensive data on the dangers its drivers face on the job. Investors say the company’s two previous health and safety reports covering only its U.S. workforce are limited in scope, outdated, and not fully independent. In filing the proposal, Achmea sought to gain a better understanding of the company’s exposure to regulatory, legal, reputational, and financial risks.
Said Martijn Stam, Engagement Specialist at Achmea Investment Management, which filed the proposal, “Regarding safety, Uber, its investors, and its drivers are driving blind as the current safety reporting is not delivering. Therefore, we will continue to urge Uber to meet the request of this proposal.”
Investors say management undermined the success of the proposal by claiming it will address health and safety issues in its forthcoming civil rights audit in response to a separate 2022 proposal filed by ICCR member SOC Investment Group. However, investors are doubtful that driver health and safety will be adequately covered by the civil rights audit. The civil rights audit applies to U.S. operations and the framework will be based on U.S. civil rights law, while the proposal requested a health and safety assessment on international operations and drivers.
“Whether Uber’s pending civil rights audit report addresses the issues raised by the third-party driver health and safety audit proposal remains to be seen,” saidTejal K. Patel,Executive Director of SOC Investment Group. “While the civil rights audit intends to look at the U.S.-based civil rights-related impacts of Uber’s policies, practices, and products on its drivers, it is unlikely to focus on specific health and safety issues that drivers face and it will not look at these issues from a global perspective.”
About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
Celebrating its 51st year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of shareholder advocates who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for social change. Its 300-member organizations comprise faith communities, socially responsible asset managers, unions, pensions, NGOs, and other socially responsible investors with combined assets of over $4 trillion. ICCR members engage hundreds of corporations annually to foster greater corporate accountability. Visit our website www.iccr.org and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.