Rideshare drivers protest outside Chicago Uber hub after driver killed while on the job

Friday, December 15, 2023
Rideshare drivers protest outside Chicago Uber hub after driver killed
A group of rideshare drivers called the Chicago Gig Alliance gathered outside the Uber hub in West Town, demanding the company meet drivers' needs for safety.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A group of rideshare drivers protested outside Uber's hub in West Town, demanding more safety guarantees after a rideshare and limo driver was killed on the job.

Mohammed Al Hejoj was shot and killed on Dec. 3 inside his vehicle while he was driving for Uber in North Austin. His alleged shooter was his passenger, his family said.

"It's a really difficult situation. It's hard for everyone to accept what happened," said his brother Sadam Al Hejoj.

"How can we feel safety? Someone was doing his job, and he gets killed. Just killed for no reason," said his sister Kawkab Al Hejoj.

READ MORE: Limousine company owner, driver shot to death in North Austin, police say

A Chicago shooting killed Mohammed Al Hijoj, a car service driver, while on the job on Lotus Avenue in the city's Austin neighborhood, CPD said.

"He did nothing wrong but helping. But helping! This is not the way we say thank you when someone helps us. His tip was taking his life, taking away his life from the people who loved him," she added.

That's why the Chicago Gig Alliance gathered outside the Uber Hub in West Town, demanding the company to meet drivers' needs for safety, including a better screening process for riders, fair pay and an end to what they call unfair driver deactivations due to customer complaints.

"For the company, they have blood on their hands. They've known this is an issue. We've been calling attention to it for years," said Lori Simmons, organizer with Chicago Giga Alliance.

The group is also calling for the city council to pass the Chicago Rideshare Living Wage and Safety Ordinance, which they say will help ensure the safety of drivers and fairness on the job.

Fourth Ward Alderman Lamont Robinson is hoping to steer that legislation through.

"I look forward to making sure that the City of Chicago sets the example," he said.

Hejoj's murder investigation is ongoing. Police say at least four people were seen running away from the scene. So far, their search for the suspects continues.

Full statement from Uber:

"Violence is far too prevalent in communities across the country. Uber is not immune to these societal tragedies, which is why we've made safety a cornerstone of the Uber experience. We are constantly building features that help enhance safety, like the Safety Toolkit, in-app audio recording, and the in-app Emergency Button. We've also been making meaningful changes to the app, like freezing rider accounts with fake names and requiring ID for certain riders. Last month, we announced plans to further expand the verification of rider identities and inform drivers when they're picking up verified riders. Safety at Uber never stops, and our commitment to always raising the bar remains unwavering."

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