Uber Driver Plan Worldwide Strike in Protest of Unfair Working Conditions
As Uber is just days away from its multi-billion dollar initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, thousands of drivers around the world are planning to launch a series of strikes. The strikes are said to be in protest for better pay, benefits, and treatment, all of which seem to be in decline for some time.
Driver groups in cities including San Diego, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago are all planning on participating in the strike. Other cities like Philadelphia will see drivers holding press conferences to spread awareness of the unfair treatment they say they have been enduring.
Uber expects to be valued at more than $80 billion for its big debut day on Wall Street. It marks the third largest IPO since Facebook and Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba. Founders, investors, executives, and corporate employees all stand to make billions from the IPO, yet drivers continue to deal with low pay and no benefits.
Uber has built its business on the gig-economy, long arguing that its drivers are independent contractors. This status means drivers do not qualify for normal employee rights like a minimum wage, overtime, workers compensation, unemployment insurance, paid sick leave and on-the-job expenses. The only benefit drivers seem to have been promised is the potential of receiving a cash bonus if a certain amount of rides are completed by the time of the IPO.
A recent study out of Georgetown found that Uber drivers often take on debt resulting from driving for Uber. Another study showed that the average driver for Uber makes the equivalent of $9.21 in hourly wages after factoring in commissions, fees, vehicles expenses, and vehicle depreciation.
Uber counts 3.9 million drivers among its ranks around the world, according to a count taken at the end of 2018. The strikes are shaping up to be the largest ever conducted by Uber drivers, though it is still unclear as to how detrimental they will be to the companies seemingly unstoppable growth.