On the eve of Uber’s public offering, app drivers in New York City logged off from 7 AM to 9 AM to join the international strike day. Drivers across the globe were also protesting Uber’s business model of greed before humanity. While Uber bosses prepare to reap billions in profits, Uber and other App drivers still struggle to make ends meet with no job security.
The demands of the New York City Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA):
NYC app drivers were striking in solidarity with drivers across the globe — from London to Los Angeles. NYC app driver demands include:
– Job security – end unfair deactivations that force drivers to live in fear of losing their livelihoods
– Liveable incomes – winning the cap and the minimum pay rate was just the first step. We demand an end to the scam of upfront pricing.
– Regulate the fare Uber/Lyft/Juno/Via charge passengers, and cap the companies’ commission, guaranteeing 80-85% of the fare to the driver
Drivers, in their own words, on why they went on strike:
Syed Ali, Uber driver and NYTWA member said, “I’m striking because Uber has broken their promises to drivers time and again. I started driving for Uber when they first came to New York City. We were excited about the new app technology and promises for good incomes. They called us partners and it seemed like it was going to be a great job and I was looking forward to a better future. At first it was good money. But then Uber cut our rates and they tried to tell us we’d be earning more even though they paid us less. What kind of craziness is that?”
“Then they demoted the class of car I drive – even after I borrowed money to get my vehicle – so I could no longer do UberBlack and so my income went down even more. When I started Uber was worth about $200 million. Now they are valuated at around $100 billion. They have grown and grown and gotten richer and richer, but I haven’t grown with the company. My condition as an Uber driver has gotten worse and worse. And Uber thinks even now we make more money than we should — that’s what they said in their public documents. I have more debt and less income even though I work 7 days a week. I’m not alone. Our strike is in solidarity with my fellow Uber drivers all across the globe who are in the same position that I’m in, suffering from Uber’s broken promises.”
Inder Parmar, Uber driver and NYTWA member said, “When I first started driving for Uber in 2013 I could support my family working 5 days a week, but Uber repeatedly slashed driver pay while at the same time taking a larger cut of our earnings. Uber’s profits have skyrocketed while my income plummeted. When Uber started in New York, it took a 10% commission from UberX drivers and charged passengers $3.00 per mile. But Uber kept cutting the rates and increasing its commission. By 2016, the commission rate was 25% and the mileage rate drivers made was only $1.75 per mile. Then, in 2017, Uber changed its rates again so they don’t even stop at 25% commission of each trip anymore. They started using something called Upfront Pricing to charge the passenger whatever they want but pay us drivers the same low rates so sometimes Uber keeps 30, 40 or even 50 percent or more of what the passenger paid.”
“The other companies do the same thing now. Uber can’t cut the rates they pay us anymore because we won the minimum pay rate in New York City. That’s a good step. Now we need an end to upfront pricing. Drivers need a fair share of the money charged to passengers. We shouldn’t have to get by on minimum wage or less while Uber bosses are making billions.”
Kevin Raghu, Lyft driver and NYTWA member said, “I’m striking because I want the app companies to do what is fair for drivers. All the drivers I know are struggling to make ends meet. I’ve had to borrow money from my sister at times to cover my expenses and take care of my child, because I’m making so little money even with all the hours I work. And the bills add up, if something happens to my vehicle, or even the wear and tear to my car, can push me into more debt. Our expenses keep going up. Meanwhile, these companies are getting rich.”
“We need them to reduce commission and give drivers a fair share of the revenue they take from passengers. We used to make good money but then the companies started taking more and more. Most people don’t know but sometimes app companies take more than half of what passengers pay – that’s not fair. I also used to drive for Uber. But they deactivated me with no recourse. This happens to drivers all the time. I had a 4.9 rating and I had been with them from the beginning. This is how they treat us. We are asking for our fair share and for job security.”
- New York Uber drivers, in their own words, on why they went on strike.