US Ride-Share Drivers Ready for Massive Countrywide Strike Ahead of Uber IPO

The strike is to protest the pay gap and alleged poor worker treatment of ride-share drivers across the U.S.

byChris Chin|
US Ride-Share Drivers Ready for Massive Countrywide Strike Ahead of Uber IPO

Controversy is heating up in the United States ride-sharing scene as the largest provider, Uber, prepares for its initial public offering. Reports of a planned strike on Wednesday, May 8, have surfaced as drivers employed by companies like Uber and even Lyft are protesting the business practices and pay discrepancies between their line of work and executives.

According to an announcement, drivers are planning to strike between the hours of 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. local time across the country, including major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and New York.

Not too long ago, Uber announced its plan to go public at Wall Street with its IPO on May 9.

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance is coordinating the strike as it shared plans on how to execute the sit-out. The strike itself is in effort to fight for improving the work environment and to protect drivers by securing a livable income.

The strike has gathered so much attention that even political figures and presidential candidates began weighing in on the matter.

After the strike, drivers are reportedly planning to rally and protest in front of the Uber and Lyft headquarters in New York at 1 p.m. on the same day.

Ride-sharing companies have come under heavy fire from taxi unions for devaluing hired car transportation. It’s become so heated that a number of taxi drivers were found to have committed suicide due to the inability to pay down taxi medallion debt. But taxi drivers aren’t the only ones facing significant pay cuts as ride-share drivers are protesting being underpaid while Uber and Lyft executives walk away with millions.

“In the IPO filing, Uber said drivers will only get more dissatisfied because they plan to cut our pay and stop incentives. We don't want our wages to stay just minimum,” said Sonam Lama, in the NYTWA’s official statement. Lama has been an Uber driver since 2015.

“We want Uber to answer to us, not to investors. The gig economy is all about exploiting workers by taking away our rights. It has to stop. Uber is the worst actor in the gig economy. Uber claims that we are independent contractors even though they set our rates and control our workday. Uber executives are getting rich off of our work, they should treat us with respect. We are striking to send a message that drivers will keep rising up."