Rideshare Drivers Strike For Better Pay And Working Conditions As Uber Goes Public

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Rideshare Drivers Strike For Better Pay And Working Conditions As Uber Goes Public

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Wednesday will be Uber’s first day as a publicly traded organization, meaning it will be on the stock market. As executives eagerly watch the company’s performance, strikes are happening in over a dozen cities in North and South America, the UK, and Australia.

Event organizer and Uber Driver Mostafa Maklad said “Drivers living in San Francisco are forced to work at least 70-80 hours a week in order to survive in the city … everything is getting more expensive in order to live in San Francisco. We have to drive more and more, deal with health and stress problems, but Uber doesn’t care. What Uber is doing is decreasing pay to drivers.”

Across the various cities, the drivers plan to turn off their apps and stop working for 12-24 hours, and set up picket lines outside of various buildings, including Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco. The protestors want increased pay, basic benefits, decision-making transparency on Uber’s part, and a greater input from the drivers themselves within the company.

Various studies have found that median wage for drivers has fallen from $14 to $9 an hour, a figure far below what is necessary to survive in places like New York City and San Francisco, where costs of living seem to be permanently on the rise.

Without any designated space for fellow employees to meet or to cross paths, the drivers have taken to platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp to talk about and organize these strikes, with some groups thousands of members strong.

Event organizer and Uber driver Rebecca Martinez says that “The victories are still down the road, nothing has been accomplished, but you never expect one action is going to bring about all the change you’re looking for. Any history of organizing will show you it takes time to get what you’re looking for.”