Hundreds Turn Out to Picket Against Uber Amid 25-Hour Driver Strike

In an outpouring of long-simmering tensions between rideshare companies and drivers whose wages have been on the decline, hundreds affiliated or acting in solidarity with grassroots group Drivers United turned out on Monday to picket an Uber Greenlight hub in Redondo Beach, California.

Advertisement

Inciting today’s action was a 25-percent decrease in per-mile rates rolled out to Los Angeles-area drivers in recent weeks. “We have seen them take 54 percent of our pay while they are worth billions, but never before have they been so callous, so brazen” as the recent mileage rate cut, one passionate worker said before the crowd of picketers today—as well as to strikers watching on the livestream from elsewhere. “The fact that these vultures have driven people to homelessness in their pursuit of greed is a blight upon our country.”

Advertisement

As we previously reported, Drivers United aren’t merely hoping to restore the per-mile rate that previously was in place. Workers are hoping to win guaranteed minimum pay similar to what New York recently voted to enact, as well as a 10-percent commission cap for rideshare companies, and an end to driver deactivations without just cause.

Supporting the strike effort were the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, Amalgamated Transit Union, the National Union of Healthcare Workers, and 2020 presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders.

Advertisement

“Uber and Lyft continue to destroy drivers’ lives, leaving them in poverty and debt, as the companies saturate streets, cut rates and syphon revenue from passenger fares into their own pockets,” NYTWA wrote in a statement to press.

Similarly, ATU stated that “Uber and Lyft’s pattern of exploiting workers—and denying them basic rights such as a livable wage, affordable health insurance, overtime pay, retirement plans, workers’ compensation coverage, unemployment insurance and the right to join a union to collectively bargain on their own behalf—is deplorable. It is disgusting that Uber would further slash driver pay from already unlivable levels, but, unfortunately, it is no longer surprising.”

Advertisement

Uber declined to provide a comment.

Drivers United’s picket and 25-hour protest are timed around Lyft’s recent initial public offering and Uber’s upcoming public offering. (It’s no surprise, then, that “homeless drivers with nowhere to go / say hell no to the IPO” was among the first chants at today’s picket.) Gig Workers Rising, a similar coalition, organized in San Fransisco today to directly disrupt Lyft’s IPO roadshow.

Advertisement

Nicole Moore, an activist with Drivers United, told the crowd California Governor Gavin Newsom had finally agreed to meet with the organization to hear their concerns. (We’ve reached out to Gov. Newsom’s office and will update if we hear back.)

Advertisement

The protesters intend to continue picketing outside the Greenlight Hub until 3pm local time. They then intend to march to an LAX parking lot where they hope to convince incoming fliers to avoid ridersharing apps until the strike ends.

Senior reporter. Tech + labor /// bgmwrites@gmail.com Keybase: keybase.io/bryangm Securedrop: http://gmg7jl25ony5g7ws.onion/

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

Delete Uber. I know Lyft is lowering wages too, but Uber has had pretty much nothing but a history of bad decisions. Nothing comes to mind when I try to think of a positive thing they’ve done. The best thing might be something they’re working on, which we don’t know if it’ll work and when they’ll arrive: flying cars/drone/helicopter hybrids.

I recommend people seek alternate modes of transportation: walking, biking, carpool, public transportation. Of course, there is your own car or a taxi too. I’ve been driving less and using alternate methods (as well as looking into others), planning/bundling my errands/trips to be more efficient, and looking to increase the amount of stuff I already buy via subscription to be shipped to me. It saves me money, time in some cases, is good for the environment and every person that does this helps make their city more walking/bike-friendly, and healthier. You can start slow, every little bit helps. As for time, you can spend it on your phone, computer, listening to a podcast, reading a book, whatever you want and works for the method of transportation. In a rideshare, you’re not driving and likely doing something else besides sit-and-stare anyways.

If someone could recommend a map site/app that can calculate the most efficient route based on mileage (with possible option for time), that would be great. Google Maps keeps pushing updates that aren’t useful to anyone except for them and their wallets. Dragging and dropping multiple stops is fine when it’s like 3 places, but anything more is just infuriating.