Drivers affiliated with Uber, Lyft, Doordash and other companies that provide on-demand car and food delivery services will go on strike on Wednesday to protest working conditions.
The companies in question, known sometimes as “rideshare” platforms, have been strongly criticized by drivers and labor advocates due to their corporate structure, whereby drivers are not employees of the companies but, instead, independent contractors and receive only a portion of the amount that customers are charged. The strike is being organized by Justice For App Workers and will take place only on Wednesday — which is Valentine’s Day — from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the cities of Austin, Chicago, Miami, Hartford in Connecticut, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, Tampa and the entire state of Rhode Island.
“Uber, Lyft, and delivery drivers are TIRED of being mistreated by the app companies. We’re sick of working 80 hours/week just to make ends meet, being constantly scared for our safety, and worrying about being deactivated with the click of a button,” wrote Justice For App Workers on their website announcing the strike. “We’re going on strike and telling the app companies that WE WON’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!”
The strike appears to be limited to rides to and from airports in the named cities. The group plans to picket outside airports and the offices of the companies in question, according to a report by NBC News.
“A year into algorithmic pricing, drivers have seen incredible decrease of our pay…whatever calculations and algorithms they’re using, it’s absolutely useless,” said Nicole Moore, president of the California-based Rideshare Drivers United union, according to NBC. Rideshare company drivers do not have fixed hours of work and are paid per ride on each delivery they complete, with some drivers performing the work full-time.
In 2019, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom of California signed into law Assembly Bill 5, legislation that raised the standards for the classification of drivers as independent contractors, which would have required rideshare companies to reclassify most of their drivers as employees with benefits. Rideshare companies later funded a successful ballot initiative, Proposition 22, to exempt themselves from the law, though its constitutionality has been challenged in court.
St. Valentine’s Day commemorates an early Christian martyr in Rome, St. Valentine, the Catholic patron saint of love, and has long been an occasion to celebrate romance, with many individuals relying on rideshare services to ferry them to evening occasions for that purpose. The limited geographic and temporal nature of the strike means that rideshare services in the evening are unlikely to be affected.
Arjun Singh on February 12, 2024