Drivers for ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft are planning to go on strike tomorrow to protest low wages and other grievances. The strike comes ahead of Uber’s Friday debut on the New York Stock Exchange where the company is seeking to raise about $9 billion, tendering 180 million shares in an initial public offering.
Drivers will turn off their apps for two hours during the morning rush, said the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA). Rideshare Drivers United – Los Angeles is calling for a 24-hour strike. Drivers in Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and London are also reportedly set to join the protest to demand job security, livable wages, and a guaranteed commission rate.
The NYTWA is seeking an end to what it says are unfair deactivations that force drivers to live in fear of losing their jobs. They’re also seeking guarantees that 80% to 85% of fares go to the driver.
In March, Uber agreed to pay $20 million to settle a class-action lawsuit from drivers who claimed the company classified them as contractors to avoid paying minimum wage and other benefits.
Late last month, Uber set a price range of $44 to $50 per share, giving the company a valuation between $80 billion and $91 billion.
Former chief executive officer and co-founder Travis Kalanick could make $5.3 billion in the IPO, according to some estimates, while co-founder, Garrett Camp, could make about $3.7 billion. Uber’s other large shareholders include SoftBank, Benchmark Capital Partners, the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, and Alphabet.
“Uber and Lyft wrote in their S1 filings that they think they pay drivers too much already,” NYTWA executive director Bhairavi Desai said in a statement. “With the IPO, Uber’s corporate owners are set to make billions, all while drivers are left in poverty and go bankrupt. That’s why NYTWA members are joining the international strike to stand up to Uber greed.”