Amid the recent reports of driver shortages and significantly increased fares for passengers, Uber and Lyft drivers are going on strike July 21st to bring attention to their poor working conditions and need for more consistent pay and compensation. Drivers are striking in support of the Pro Act, a piece of national legislation stalled on the Senate floor by the filibuster. The Pro Act would give drivers the right to organize and collectively bargain better rates and safety standards from the companies they work for. Drivers currently have no say in the contracts issued to them for their services and the recent killing of Uber driver Raquel Wehber in San Diego shines further light on a need for increased safety standards in order to protect drivers.
One of the main reasons there is a driver shortage is because many drivers are not returning to these poor and hazardous working conditions for inconsistent and low pay. Many long-time drivers have had enough and are choosing other professions and occupations following the pandemic. Uber and Lyft are using this as an opportunity to upcharge passengers for rides and have not been cutting drivers in fairly on these upcharges, taking 60–70% of the fare in many cases.
Drivers have had enough of years of exploitive behavior in which rates are constantly manipulated for company and not driver benefit. These companies offered cut-throat rates on rides for years, even taking a loss and subsidizing rides for riders. This was in an effort to drive businesses, like taxi companies, who paid drivers more fairly, out of business and off the road. It worked and now with market control and dominance in many cities, Uber and Lyft are going to charge more for their services while continuing to pay the drivers very little.
These companies have a long history of exploiting labor and shifting the cost of their business onto the taxpayer by misclassifying their drivers as independent contractors, when they are far from such. Drivers do not make enough to be considered independent contractors. They do not negotiate their own contracts or terms of their work. The companies do this to cut corners and avoid paying payroll taxes into state systems for workers compensation, unemployment and health insurance, essentially passing the buck and cost of their business onto the public.
Drivers won employee rights in the State of California and Uber and Lyft responded by writing their own dishonest and unfair law, Prop 22, and selling it to the public in the 2020 election as good for drivers. They spent over $200 million on false advertising to get their way. Prop 22 has not helped drivers and has since been exposed as flawed. Meanwhile, other corporations, companies, and industries have been taking advantages of the loopholes of this law and fired long-standing employees, replacing them with underpaid independent contractors.
Well, drivers in California and across the nation have had enough and are calling for a one-day strike on July 21st. Turn your apps off and let’s get our voice heard is the message from drivers who will be having rallies and pickets in Los Angeles, San Francsico, and San Diego in California; as well as in Austin, Boston, Tallahassee, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Las Vegas and Baltimore across the rest of the country. Other driver groups from across the globe in Canada, Brazil and England are also coming out in support of the strike. Please show your support for drivers and do your share by not utilizing Uber, Lyft or Ubereats services on July 21st. Thank you.