Uber, Lyft drivers go on strike nationwide

Drivers for ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft are going on strike in cities across the country Wednesday, demanding higher pay and better working conditions.  

Thousands of drivers are expected to participate in the strike, as well as rallies and pickets, organized by local driver groups in at least 10 cities nationwide, including New York, Washington, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In L.A., driver group Rideshare Drivers United is calling for drivers to turn off apps for 24 hours, from midnight Tuesday to midnight Wednesday, as well as attend a rally at noon Wednesday at Los Angeles International Airport. In New York, drivers are turning apps off from 7 to 9 a.m. Wednesday and then are rallying at 1 p.m. outside Uber’s headquarters.

L.A.’s Rideshare Drivers United, which has about 3,000 members, is demanding that Uber and Lyft guarantee drivers a $28 hourly minimum rate before expenses, or about $17 after expenses. The group led a daylong strike in March after Uber cut drivers’ pay in the L.A. area by about 25% in March ― reducing its per-mile rate from 80 cents to 60 cents per mile.   

RELATED: Take a look at Lyft throughout the years: 

18 PHOTOS
Lyft through the years
See Gallery
Lyft through the years
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 11: Lyft van is seen during the 2016 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Austin Convention Center on March 11, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Hutton Supancic/Getty Images for SXSW)
An illuminated sign appears in a Lyft ride-hailing car in Los Angeles, California, U.S. September 21, 2017. Picture taken September 21, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren
Recruiters for Lyft wait for the opening of a job fair in Golden, Colorado, June 7, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Tariq Meyers, Head of Inclusion and Diversity, Lyft, speaks at the Wall Street Journal Digital conference in Laguna Beach, California, U.S. October 18, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
John Zimmer co-founder and president of Lyft speaks at WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California, U.S., October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Frankie Roeder, 28, hows his support as Lyft ride-sharing supporters rally at City Hall in Seattle, Washington, US, February 12, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Redmond/File photo
A smartphone app for Lyft drivers is seen during a photo opportunity in San Francisco, California February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 12: A Lyft car drives along Powell Street on June 12, 2014 in San Francisco, California. The California Public Utilities Commission is cracking down on ride sharing companies like Lyft, Uber and Sidecar by issuing a warning that they could lose their ability to operate within the state if they are caught dropping off or picking up passengers at airports in California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Maya Jackson, a Lyft driver from Sacramento, holds a Lyft Glowstache during a photo opportunity in San Francisco, California February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A Lyft Inc. decal is displayed on a car window in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. Lyft�Inc.�has gained significant ground on its rival,�Uber Technologies Inc., and is expected to grab more market share in the U.S., according to a private�Lyft�investor document obtained by Bloomberg. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A vehicle sits parked outside the Lyft Inc. driver hub in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. Lyft�Inc.�has gained significant ground on its rival,�Uber Technologies Inc., and is expected to grab more market share in the U.S., according to a private�Lyft�investor document obtained by Bloomberg. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 16: A view of the Lyft booth during TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2017 - Day 2 at Pier 36 on May 16, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 17: A Lyft representative attends Beyond The Home during Airbnb Open LA - Day 1 on November 17, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Airbnb)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 03: A Lyft driver navigates to her passenger on February 3, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Lyft)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 03: A Lyft driver is waiting for a ride in the city on February 3, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Lyft)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 27: A general view at the Lyft driver rally at Siren Studios on January 27, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for Lyft)
The Lyft Inc. logo and application (app) is displayed on an Apple Inc. iPhone 5s and MacBook Air for an arranged photograph in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Lyft Inc. is taking its ride-sharing service into New York this week and is abandoning its trademark pink mustaches in the process, taking on rival Uber Technologies Inc. in one of the biggest U.S. markets. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The Lyft Inc. application (app) is demonstrated on an Apple Inc. iPhone 5s during a Lyft ride for an arranged photograph in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Lyft Inc. is taking its ride-sharing service into New York this week and is abandoning its trademark pink mustaches in the process, taking on rival Uber Technologies Inc. in one of the biggest U.S. markets. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

“We provide an essential service, but Uber and Lyft investors are the only ones reaping the benefits,” Karim Bayumi, a driver who is part of the organizing team in L.A., said in a news release before Wednesday’s strike. The 40-year-old father of two told HuffPost last month that he is a full-time rideshare driver working six days a week from about 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

“Our picket and rally will show that rideshare drivers will not be invisible ― we demand justice,” he added.  

The Wednesday strike takes place just one day before Uber’s initial public offering, set for Thursday, when it is expected to issue stock worth up to $91 billion. Lyft went public in March, valued at more than $24 billion.

Uber did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment. When asked about the impending strike, a Lyft spokesperson said that its drivers earn more than $20 per hour and that over three-quarters of its drivers work part time, less than 10 hours a week.

Virginia Del. Lee Carter (D), a lawmaker who drives part time for Lyft, said he’d be among the striking drivers Wednesday.

“This strike is to send a message that the folks at corporate at Uber and Lyft who are getting massively rich off of the exploitation of drivers is not going unnoticed,” Carter told HuffPost.

Because ride-hailing company drivers are classified as independent contractors instead of employees, it’s harder for them to unionize, and they aren’t ensured the same benefits as full-time workers for a company, such as a minimum wage or health insurance.  

“I believe what Uber and Lyft drivers are doing is a valuable service ― we bring people home safely after a long night out, we take people to work,” Bayumi told HuffPost last month. “We’re trying to make a living ... we shouldn’t have to be struggling, scraping pennies off the floor.”

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
Read Full Story