Rideshare Drivers on Strike Around the World Ahead of IPO by Uber

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NY Taxi Workers Alliance Executive Director Bhairavi Desai and a group of App driver strike organizers hold a press conference as drivers for Uber and Lyft held a strike this morning to protest low wages and poor working conditions (lost audio at 21:18).

Drivers in cities around the world planned to strike on Wednesday May 8, 2019 ahead of Uber’s highly anticipated initial public offering (IPO) on Wall Street. Lyft Inc. posted strong growth in its first quarterly report as a public company, with revenue nearly doubling from the prior year.

Strikes are planned across major US cities, as well as parts of the United Kingdom, Australia and South America. The first strike began in London at 7 a.m. local time and lasted until 4:00 p.m.

In New York City, there was a two-hour strike planned from 7:00 am ET to 9:00 am ET, designed to impact the busy commuting hours.

In Chicago, drivers will park, instead of drive, for 24 hours straight; and about 100 protestors will meet outside City Hall, according to Chicago Rideshare Advocates.

In Atlanta, workers plan to strike for 12 hours. In San Diego and Los Angeles, drivers plan to strike for 24 hours.

Striking drivers say they intend to send a message to Uber and its rivals, such as Lyft, that they want livable incomes, job security and regulated fares, and other demands.

In addition to turning off their apps, drivers will hold rallies held in strategic places, such as outside local Uber and Lyft offices.

Driver claim that Uber and Lyft have built their businesses on the backs of drivers. Similar to other gig-economy companies, the two have long argued their drivers are independent contractors, which means Uber and Lyft manages workers, but without the same rights as employees, that have benefits such as minimum wage, overtime, workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, paid sick leave or on-the-job expenses.

Both Uber and Lyft claim their businesses would be “adversely affected” if drivers were classified as employees instead of contractors.

Drivers are also concerned that Uber and Lyft are working toward operating driverless vehicles, which will eliminate their gig. For Uber and Lyft, the days of driverless vehicles probably can’t come soon enough.



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