More than 50 kick workers killed at work: NPR


Portrait of Alyssa Louise in her kitchen in Richardson, Texas on April 4, 2022.

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Portrait of Alyssa Louise in her kitchen in Richardson, Texas on April 4, 2022.

Zerb Mellish for NPR

Back in August, Alyssa Louise contacted her older sister Bella on the phone and chatted about meeting that day.

“I said, ‘Hey, this is the weekend, can you do my hair?’ She was like, ‘Well, I’m going to take the elevator today, and I’ll let you know how I feel after that,’ ‘said Louise, 23, of Dallas, Texas.

But shortly after that chat, Louise received a call from a friend saying that something terrible had happened and that he needed to go to a specific address. She arrived with a panic and encountered a restless scene: police vehicles surrounded her sister’s car.

A random traveler shot and killed Bella Louise. She is 26 years old.

“She was a very loving soul, who lit up the room with a smile. Such a person,” said Alyssa Lewis. “She didn’t realize how much she had kept our family together until we lost her.”


Alyssa Louise outside her home in Richardson, Texas on April 4, 2022.

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Alyssa Louise outside her home in Richardson, Texas on April 4, 2022.

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Lewis was one of more than 50 kick workers killed while driving for companies such as Elevator, Uber and Tordash since 2017, according to a new report by a panel of lawyers called Kick Workers Rising.

While it is difficult to know what companies could have done to prevent the deaths, labor lawyers say there is a lack of support after the killings.

No right to death compensation and prosecution

Unlike regular employees, families of kick workers, even if killed while on the job, do not receive compensation such as benefits for survivors.

Catherine Fisk, a labor law expert at the University of California, Berkeley, points out that the families of kick workers cannot approach the court system and file something like a false death case.

Companies like Lyft force drivers to sign so-called mandatory arbitration agreements, which means they can not sue if drivers are injured or do something wrong while working.

“Companies have built their relationships so they are not responsible for the injuries their drivers experience during work,” Fisk said.

So even though Bella Louise died doing her job, her family paid for everything from the funeral to the burial fee.

“They’re not going to pay for anything,” said his sister, Alyssa Louise. “The driver’s window was shot somehow. They did not fix it.”


Family photos of Alyssa Louise’s family and her sisters in her living room on April 4, 2022 in Richardson, Texas.

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Family photos of Alyssa Louise’s family and her sisters in her living room on April 4, 2022 in Richardson, Texas.

Zerb Mellish for NPR

Lift sent its insurance company, Liberty Mutual, to see if it could offer any compensation, and both Louise and Lift confirmed. However, she did not pay for anything, including cleaning the blood from the car in which she was killed. This is because before the company’s insurance policy was launched, it was less than the $ 2,500 deductible driver’s out of pocket.

In a statement, Lyft said it was trying to ensure that all its drivers were safe at all times and had access to utility tools that they could use if they felt they were at risk.

The elevator did not answer questions about why the Louise family was not helped to perform their funeral rites.

An elevator spokeswoman says the company tried to contact Louise’s family after she died, but was unable to do so, Alyssa Louise said.


Alyssa visits her sister’s memorial on April 4, 2022, in her room in Richardson, Texas.

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Alyssa visits her sister’s memorial on April 4, 2022, in her room in Richardson, Texas.

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“So, at least they could have done it, I think it came out of pocket for the final expenses, leaving that burden on the family,” he said. “My family doesn’t need a family that comes from money … my sister is doing a lift here to get that extra money.”

How dangerous is kick work?

While some reports suggest that kick workers are more likely to be seriously injured at work than other types of workers, it is difficult to know how dangerous a kick worker is because companies do not regularly release statistics.

Lyft and Uber publish security reports on how many other types of violence, including sexual assaults and murders, occur during a ride-hailing trip, but labor advocates say the reports should be more frequent and better.

If you are a traditional taxi driver guide, calling strangers into the vehicle can be harmful.

According to federal statistics, driving is one of the deadliest jobs in the country when it comes to workplace murder. Taxi drivers can be killed while working behind retail workers, cashiers and police officers. Most taxi drivers, however, are employees who enjoy compensation provided by the employer in the event of injury or death in the workplace.

Federal statistics show that by 2020, 21 taxi drivers will have died. But that number also includes traffic accidents. Kick Worker Report, which relies on news reports and GoFundMe campaigns – focuses only on drivers killed by passengers or bystanders.

Meanwhile, Alyssa Lewis said she has been considering doing kick work recently to earn some extra income. But then his mother intervened.

“Yeah, I’m thinking of making a tortoise today,” she said. “And she said, ‘No, I’m not comfortable with you doing that. I do not want you to do that. I’m going to get the money out of my pocket before you do that. ‘

Louise decided she was going to listen to her mom.


Portrait of Alyssa Louise in her living room on April 4, 2022 in Richardson, Texas.

Zerb Mellish for NPR


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Portrait of Alyssa Louise in her living room on April 4, 2022 in Richardson, Texas.

Zerb Mellish for NPR

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