- Drivers for Uber,Lyft, and other apps are planning strikes and protests around the world on Wednesday.
- Many drivers say that their pay has consistently fallen in recent years and that they’re unhappy with their status as independent contractors.
- Actions are scheduled for New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, London, Glasgow, and more. Here’s the full list of locations.
Uber and Lyft drivers around the world are planning an international day of action on Wednesday to fight for better pay and treatment by the ride-hailing companies.
It’s far from the first time drivers for the companies have organised demonstrations, but this time – the week of Lyft’s first earnings report as a public company and Uber’s initial public offering – is particularly salient, as many company employees are set to become very rich thanks to the IPOs.
At the crux of the drivers’ argument is a measure known as the “take rate,” or the percentage of each fare the company keeps; it averages about 20% for Uber and 25% for Lyft. Skimming more money from fares can appease Wall Street investors but make drivers angrier.
Not a driver but want to support them? Groups are encouraging riders to avoid requesting rides on Wednesday in solidarity.
In New York, the country’s most lucrative market for rides, drivers plan to log off during the morning rush hour, from 7 to 9 a.m., the New York Taxi Workers Alliance said. In Los Angeles, drivers organised by Rideshare Drivers United plan to log off for 24 hours.
Other protests are scheduled in San Diego; Chicago; San Francisco; Atlanta; Boston; Philadelphia; Stamford, Connecticut; Washington, DC; and abroad. Here’s the full list, with details for each city.
Did we miss a city? Get in touch with this reporter at [email protected].
Drivers in New York City plan to log out of their apps from 7 to 9 a.m. and hold a rally at Uber’s and Lyft’s headquarters in the Long Island City neighbourhood of Queens at 1 p.m., the New York Taxi Workers Alliance said in a press release.
They’re demanding job security, livable incomes, and regulations that guarantee 80% to 85% of a fare to each driver.
“Wall Street investors are telling Uber and Lyft to cut down on driver income, stop incentives, and go faster to driverless cars,” said Bhairavi Desai, the executive director of the NYTWA. “Uber and Lyft wrote in their S1 filings that they think they pay drivers too much already. With the IPO, Uber’s corporate owners are set to make billions, all while drivers are left in poverty and go bankrupt. That’s why NYTWA members are joining the international strike to stand up to Uber greed.”
Drivers in the US’s second-largest city plan to turn off their apps for 24 hours, as well as picket at Los Angeles International Airport, Rideshare Drivers United said in a press release.
“RDU-LA demands major reforms to the industry to make it fair, dignified, and sustainable,” the group said. “Their Drivers Bill of Rights includes a ten per cent commission cap, transparency around deactivations, the right for drivers to organise and negotiate with the companies, and community standards around traffic and emissions to ensure that the rideshare industry benefits the cities where it operates.”
Drivers in Philadelphia plan to picket Uber’s Greenlight Hub from noon to 1 p.m. and are encouraging other drivers to not accept rides during that hour, the Philadelphia Drivers Union and the Philadelphia Limousine Association said.
They’re demanding an 80/20 fare split of gross passenger receipts and a minimum living wage of $US20 an hour after expenses.
“Passengers deserve to know which portion of their fare goes to their driver and how the algorithms calculate their fare,” the groups said. “What passengers pay has increased over time while the portion they pay to drivers has decreased. Despite Uber’s promise that the extra revenue would be directed to drivers, subsequent rate and promotion cuts suggest otherwise.”
They added that too many of the ride-hailing vehicles “have impacted traffic congestion.”
“It’s been demonstrated that setting a minimum living wage for drivers will force Uber and Lyft to self-police the number of drivers they will send into traffic,” they said.
Drivers in the US capital will strike in solidarity and rally at Reagan National Airport, the group Drive United said in a Facebook event.
Wednesday’s action “is about clearly stating that drivers’ livelihoods should not be dependent on the whims of tech CEOs,” Stan De La Cruz, a founding member of Drive United, said in a press release. “We deserve to be safe on the job, we deserve healthcare, and we deserve to earn a living wage.”
The district’s two airports said they would monitor the strike and work to ensure alternatives are available.
— Adam Tuss (@AdamTuss) May 7, 2019
Drivers in the Windy City will assemble in Grant Park at 1:30 p.m., followed by a demonstration at 3 p.m., Chicago Rideshare Advocates said in a Facebook event.
“Join as we push for a more fair, just, and safer rideshare system that works for everyone not just the corporate investors in Uber and Lyft,” the group said.
In Lyft and Uber’s hometown, drivers are staging a 12-hour shutdown, from noon to midnight, as well as a rally at Uber’s headquarters in the SoMa neighbourhood, Gig Workers Rising said.
The Boston Independent Drivers Guild is urging drivers in the city to remain offline for 24 hours beginning at midnight and organising a demonstration at Uber’s Greenlight Hub from noon to 3 p.m., it said in a Facebook post.
“The sweat of these drivers is what’s funding the IOP,” Felipe Martinez, a member of the guild’s board of directors, told Boston magazine. “They’re gonna be giving the profits to investors from the sweat of the drivers, and we feel that’s unfair when they keep lowering our pay.”
Uber & Lyft drivers indicated they are planning a strike for tomorrow 5/8. If you're traveling, we have many other modes of transportation that passengers should utilize to & from the airport – including Logan Express & the @MBTA Silver Line and Blue Line. https://t.co/xSIBqx8VzU
— Boston Logan International Airport (@BostonLogan) May 7, 2019
Drivers in San Diego, who are also being organised by Rideshare Drivers United, plan to log off for 24 hours and hold a demonstration at San Diego International Airport, the group said.
Drivers in Connecticut will rally from 11 a.m. to noon at Uber’s Stamford hub, Connecticut Drivers United said in a Facebook event.
The group said the demonstration is in support of a bill in the state’s Legislature that “would give basic labour protections to rideshare drivers across the state.”
Drivers in Atlanta – home to the US’s busiest airport – are planning a 12-hour strike, from noon until midnight, organised by Rideshare Drivers United Georgia, which has about 200 members,The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The group plans to rally at Uber’s hub in Chamblee at noon and at Lyft’s office in Atlanta at 5 p.m.
Drivers in London, Birmingham, Nottingham, and Glasgow plan to boycott the Uber app for nine hours, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and are calling on the public to do the same.
“Uber’s business model is unsustainable in its dependence upon large scale worker exploitation, tax avoidance and regulatory arbitrage,” the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain said on its website. “Since 2016, successive judgements from the Employment Tribunal, Employment Appeal Tribunal and Court of Appeal have all said Uber drivers are entitled to basic worker rights, such as the minimum wage and holiday pay.”
The group is demanding a fare increase to £2 per mile, a decrease in the commission Uber takes to 15%, and an end to what the group says are unfair dismissals.
How Uber and Lyft are responding
Ahead of the protests, both companies released statements reaffirming their commitment to drivers.
Here’s what Uber said:
“Drivers are at the heart of our service – we can’t succeed without them – and thousands of people come into work at Uber every day focused on how to make their experience better, on and off the road. Whether it’s more consistent earnings, stronger insurance protections or fully-funded four-year degrees for drivers or their families, we’ll continue working to improve the experience for and with drivers.”
“Lyft drivers’ hourly earnings have increased over the last two years, and they have earned more than $US10B on the Lyft platform. Over 75 per cent drive less than 10 hours a week to supplement their existing jobs. On average, Lyft drivers earn over $US20 per hour. We know that access to flexible, extra income makes a big difference for millions of people, and we’re constantly working to improve how we can best serve our driver community.”
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