In the six years that Michael Ugwu has worked as an Uber driver in New York City, he’s seen a growing share of his earnings diverted into venture capitalists’ pockets. Uber and Lyft require workers to assume a myriad of expenses that can quickly trap drivers like Ugwu into debt and poverty. “Currently, they’re taking out between 35 to 40 percent, when you add up all the deductions,” Ugwu says. “You end up not having enough to pay rent, maintain the car, pay the car loan, and buy gas. They’re continuously ripping us off.” By 2017, rideshare drivers were earning less than half what they made just four years earlier, a study found. Meanwhile, executives at Lyft and Uber have raked in tens of millions of dollars in compensation.
A California judge on Friday ruled that a 2020 ballot measure exempting rideshare and food delivery drivers from a state labor law is unconstitutional because it infringes on the Legislature’s power to set workplace standards. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch wrote Proposition 22 is unconstitutional because “it limits the power of a future Legislature to define app-based drivers as workers subject to workers’ compensation law.” That makes the entire ballot measure unenforceable, Roesch said. Roesch further wrote that a provision in the initiative that prevents the Legislature from granting collective-bargaining rights to drivers is unconstitutional because it “appears only to protect the economic interests of the network companies in having a divided, ununionized workforce.”
The thank-you banners are down, but New York City residents have a real opportunity to show their appreciation for a population of low-paid, primarily immigrant frontline workers. New York City residents can help now by ditching Uber and Lyft for a competing driver-owned alternative app called “Co-op Ride,” created by the mostly volunteer-run Drivers Cooperative. If Co-op’s proposal plays out, drivers could make more money while their passengers, particularly those in underserved communities, could end up paying less for rides. Launched this past weekend and now available to New York City residents ****in the App Store and Google Play, Co-op Ride is a cooperative, driver-owned business.
Trade union members, and everyone else supportive of workers’ rights, should be very concerned about proposed legislation in New York, Massachusetts, and other states that would allow limited bargaining rights for independent contractors of Transportation Networked Companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft.
London - Uber drivers in Britain should be classed as “workers” and not self-employed, the U.K. Supreme Court ruled Friday, in a decision that threatens the company’s business model and holds broader implications for the so-called gig economy. The ruling paves the way for Uber drivers to get benefits such as paid holidays and the minimum wage, handing defeat to the ride-hailing giant in the culmination of a long-running legal battle. The Supreme Court’s seven judges unanimously rejected Uber’s appeal against an employment tribunal ruling, which had found that two Uber drivers were “workers” under British law. Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar, the two drivers, cheered the outcome.
After California passed a law extending labor protections to gig economy workers, Uber, Lyft, and other gig economy employers overturned it on election day 2020 with a $200 million ballot referendum campaign. Over the past year, the same companies have been setting up infrastructure to ensure that app-based drivers and other gig economy workers do not win labor rights in New York. Tactics used by Uber and Lyft in their campaign to deny workers protections included threatening to shut down their apps entirely in California if forced to comply with the law giving drivers employment status and flooding drivers’ apps with misleading pop-up messages about the initiative – called Proposition 22 – in the run-up to the November election.
A trio of ride-hail drivers filed a lawsuit in California's Supreme Court on Tuesday alleging Proposition 22 is unconstitutional. The proposition was voted into law by California residents in November and ensures gig workers in the state are classified as independent contractors, rather than employees. Proposition 22 was authored by gig economy companies, including Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart, which spent more than $205 million to get the ballot measure passed. It exempts the companies from a state law requiring that they treat their workers as employees. The proposition has only been in effect for one month and already it's facing challenges.
Ken Lewis grew up on the island of Grenada, and witnessed the progressive aftermath of its 1979 revolution. “I remember the power of cooperatives, people getting land, turning places that were barren into productive places,” he says. That image stayed with him after he moved to New York City for grad school and started driving a taxi on the side. Now, several decades later, Lewis is finally getting a chance to put the power of cooperatives into practice, in service of the drivers he worked with for so long. He is one of three cofounders of The Drivers Cooperative (TDC), which aims to realize a long-held dream of socially conscious New Yorkers in a hurry: a ridesharing app that you can feel good about.
With the ring of a bell, controversial former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick became a billionaire on Friday when the ridesharing company made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange. But while Uber execs former and current cashed in on the IPO, the drivers that actually build the company’s wealth won’t see nearly that kind of payout. “On a bad day — and there’s too many of those bad days — you make less than minimum wage after expenses,” says Vincent Suen, a rideshare driver based in Los Angeles.
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Just days ahead of Silicon Valley’s most hyped mega-IPO, a group of a several hundred Uber drivers gathered in front of the company’s San Francisco headquarters and took over the street in a protest demanding fair pay, benefits, and greater transparency from the rideshare giant. Friday is set to be the biggest day in Uber’s history: The company is going public and listing on the New York Stock Exchange in one of the biggest IPOs in American history. It’s by far the biggest IPO this year—a year full of Silicon Valley companies hitting the stock market.
The valuation of ride share company Uber hit $82.4 billion after an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of its stock on Thursday, one of the largest IPOs in the US since Facebook. The sale further enriched investors while raising some $8 billion for the company. Major investment houses, including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, underwrote the IPO. Other wealthy investors stood to gain huge sums, with some Goldman Sachs clients pocketing $1 billion. The stake of Uber founder Garret Camp is now worth $3.7 billion, while cofounder Travis Kalanick owns $5.3 billion in Uber stock.
Shona from Gig Workers Rising clarifies: "Gig Workers Rising isn't organizing the national day of action. Drivers in each of the 6 cities taking action are coordinating the day of action together. Drivers in LA with Rideshare Drivers United Los Angeles called a strike and asked other cities to take action on the same day. Gig Workers Rising supports and educates drivers who are organizing across the state. We are not organizing drivers."
Uber and Lyft drivers in Los Angeles are refusing to pick up customers today — part of a one-day strike to protest Uber’s recent decision to slash pay rates for drivers in the area. Last week, Uber slashed its per-mile pay by 25 percent in Los Angeles County and parts of Orange County. That means drivers will earn 60 cents per mile instead of 80 cents. That decision has pushed drivers, who were already struggling to make ends meet, over the edge. Hundreds of drivers swarmed the streets, chanting and picketing outside Uber’s office in suburban LA.
UberEats riders and a small number of workers from JD Wetherspoon, McDonald's and TGI Fridays have been staging walkouts in a pay dispute. Protests were being held in several UK cities, along with a rally in London. The industrial action was organised in tandem with strikes by fast-food workers on four continents. UberEats, JD Wetherspoon, TGI Friday's and McDonald's have all defended their record on pay. The rally in London's Leicester Square was addressed by TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady and shadow chancellor John McDonnell. Mr McDonnell said: "Our message to exploitative employers is that we are coming for you."
On August 14, the scrappy but militant 21,000 member union representing taxi and for-hire vehicle drivers in New York City won a landmark legislative victory establishing the country’s first cap on ride-sharing company vehicles and essentially forcing them to pay their drivers a minimum wage. This fight pitted the Taxi Workers Alliance against corporate giants Uber and Lyft, which together employ more lobbyists than Amazon, Walmart and Microsoft combined. Uber alone spent $1 million between January and June of this year trying to put the brakes on the Taxi Workers Alliance’s efforts. There is little wonder why. New York City is Uber’s largest U.S. market and the number of Uber and Lyft vehicles on the streets have exploded in recent years, from 25,000 in 2015 to 80,000 in 2018.