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PSA: Uber and Lyft drivers' strike planned for this week
- On Wednesday, May 8, a strike is planned for Uber and Lyft drivers in at least two countries.
- The strike is in protest of Uber’s IPO filing, which will happen the same day.
- Uber and Lyft drivers will refuse to pick up or drop off passengers from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM that day.
Ride-sharing company Uber will go public this coming Wednesday, May 8, 2019. The company is expected to see a valuation of $90 billion, which would be the largest IPO in five years (Alibaba’s public valuation was $168 billion in 2014).
Due to the dissatisfaction of Uber and Lyft drivers, there is a planned strike happening that same day in at least two countries (via The Verge). The strike would be for a relatively small amount of time but could have a pretty big impact.
The strikes are planned to last from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM local time in several prominent U.S. cities, including New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Los Angeles. There will also be strikes in the U.K. during the same time period.
During the strikes, Uber and Lyft drivers will log out of their apps and refuse to pick up or drop off passengers. Since 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM is a popular travel time for commuters, the strike could potentially be quite disruptive.
Drivers — who are considered independent contractors and not employees at both companies — are protesting the companies’ payment and labor practices. They are demanding “fewer driver deactivations, an end to upfront pricing, and a cap on the per-fare commission taken by ride-hail companies,” according to The Verge.
Over the years, ride-sharing drivers have continuously claimed that Uber and Lyft exploit their labor by keeping them as independent contractors. With the top executives and investors at Uber likely to receive huge cash windfalls after the company goes public, drivers likely feel this is the best time to make a statement.
When Lyft went public in late March, there were similar protests. However, Lyft is a much smaller company than Uber so the strikes weren’t as disruptive as Wednesday’s could potentially be.
Since Uber and Lyft drivers are contractors, a strike of this magnitude will be difficult to enforce. It is possible that certain drivers will see Wednesday morning as an opportunity to earn more fares rather than join the strike. Either way, it might be best to make other arrangements for Wednesday morning just in case.