San Diego Rideshare Drivers Plan Nationwide Strike for Higher Wages on Wednesday Morning

Photo by Mark Warner on Flickr. Link to license.

San Diego rideshare drivers, including Uber and Lyft drivers, plan to close their driving apps for a full two-hour period on May 8 in response to the Uber’s decision to decrease pay. The drivers hope this will send a message Wednesday morning to the rideshare giant, which is slated to begin public trading on the stock market this Friday.

This strike comes just over a month after Uber and Lyft drivers in several California cities closed their rideshare apps over similar low-wage issues. The strike planned for May 8 is nationwide and more coordinated than the previous strike.

Drivers from San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Washington D.C. will log out of their Uber apps from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Wednesday morning, according to the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. This protest comes just before Uber’s introduction into the New York Stock Exchange on Friday morning. Uber’s decision to go public comes after the company faced losses of $3 billion in operating costs in 2018.

The taxi workers alliance says its drivers are demanding a pay increase to a livable wage.

“The gig economy is all about exploiting workers by taking away our rights,” Sonam Lama, an Uber driver since 2015 and a member of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, stated in a press release. “It has to stop.”

According to The Guardian, Uber plans to continue decreasing worker bonuses to save money while fare prices continue to rise. A 2018 study by JP Morgan Chase found that drivers made 53% less in 2017 than they did in 2013.

“Drivers are at the heart of our service — we can’t succeed without them — and thousands of people come into work at Uber every day focused on how to make their experience better, on and off the road,” an Uber spokesperson told CNBC. “Whether it’s more consistent earnings, stronger insurance protections or fully funded four-year degrees for drivers or their families, we’ll continue working to improve the experience for and with drivers.

This strike will directly impact UC San Diego students, especially commuters, who utilize rideshare services to attend classes in the morning.

Third year Eleanor Roosevelt College student and frequent Uber user Franky Gonzalez responded to The Triton with his thoughts on the planned protest. “I think it’s fine; we have the right to assemble and if it inconveniences me for one day, it does not matter if it is for the betterment of workers long term.”

Blake Hillawi is a Contributing Writer for The Triton.