Drivers Protesting Uber IPO to Stay Home May 8th

by: The Knowledge Group

April 30, 2019


Uber workers are planning protests in major U.S. cities, with drivers saying they’ve had enough of the low-wage gig work that pays some of them less than their states’ minimum wages. The drivers involved will refuse to drive on 8 May. That’s the day Uber stock goes public in the company’s quest to raise $1 billion.

The drivers intend to switch off their Uber apps in Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. and will hold a demo at Uber’s San Francisco headquarters.

As things stand, the typical Uber and Lyft driver earns just about $8.55 an hour in the US. In California, drivers are entitled by law to a minimum hourly rate of $11.

Uber Feels the Heat

New York City has stepped up to protect drivers, by requiring contract workers for Uber, Lyft and similar companies to receive no less than $17.22 an hour. Uber is clearly feeling the heat. The company will reserve a portion of common stock at the IPO price as “appreciation” rewards ranging from $100 up to $10,000 for current Uber drivers who have made from 2,500 to 20,000 drives.

Lyft gave out a similar incentive to drivers, who might have fared better with bonuses than with stock. Lyft’s shares, as of April 2019, are priced about 15% under their IPO price.

Drivers worry that Uber may cut its pay rates after the IPO, to entice investors. The Guardian recently reported that a group known as Gig Workers Rising, which includes some 4,000 drivers as members, has encouraged drivers to push back, with demands for higher wages, benefits, and representation in the company’s management.

Gig Economy: Changing Professions and Policies

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