Uber and Lyft drivers are striking today to protest Uber’s IPO. Here’s why.

Uber and Lyft drivers are striking today over wage disputes a few days before Uber is expected to go public.


May 8, 2019

Running late for work this morning? Let’s hope you don’t need a Lyft or an Uber. Drivers for the 2 ride-hailing giants are set to go on a global strike this morning in protest of low pay and poor working conditions.

The move comes a few days before Uber is expected to go public at an insane $90B valuation — calling further attention to the long-contested wage disparity between 2 multibillion-dollar corporations and the contract employees that carry them.

‘They treat their drivers like crap…’

— Uber driver, Corey Roberts, told The Guardian.

If Uber is valued at $90B+, then Travis Kalanick (its founder) stands to make close to $9B (not to mention the hordes of expectant millionaires below him). Yet some drivers are actually losing money on the job after you factor in insurance, gas, and maintenance.

Ahead of Uber’s IPO, drivers saw fare prices rise while their take-home pay shrunk. To make up for the slight, the company offered bonuses upon the company hitting the exchange (SEC rules prevent giving private stock shares to freelancers).

Yeah, but drivers still make like $20 an hour, right?

WRONG — Lyft and Uber shave 20% and 25%, respectively, off the top of their drivers’ earnings. 

And driver take-home pay is closer to $9 an hour, according to an analysis from the think tank Economic Policy Institute.

So what exactly will this accomplish?

While it’s unlikely to affect Uber’s monstrous valuation, the strike continues to increase awareness around the business practices of Uber and Lyft.

Ride-hailing drivers in New York recently won a 2-year fight for a law that is expected to increase their pay by an average of $10k per year — showing that if the push is hard enough, change is possible.

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