Wednesday, 19 June, 2019


Uber, Lyft drivers to strike and rally ahead of Uber's IPO

Investors are banking on those drivers eventually being replaced with autonomous vehicles DOMINICO ZAPATA STUFFInvestors are banking on those drivers eventually being replaced with autonomous vehicles
Conrad Doyle | 08 May, 2019, 14:39

The report comes just days before the hotly anticipated IPO of Lyft's much larger rival, Uber, which plans to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.

The app drivers for Uber, Lyft, Via and other platforms are seeking improved job security, including an end to arbitrary "deactivations", and a better revenue split between drivers and platforms. Lyft told Fast Company that drivers' hourly earnings have increased over the past couple of years, but some drivers themselves say they're not feeling the effects: One driver told Fast Company in March that to take home the same weekly pay, he had to drive significantly more miles, and the rise in hourly earnings that Lyft reports could be a function of greater demand, not that the company is paying drivers more per trip. In New York, where ride-hailing drivers just won a two-year fight for a law that gives them a minimum salary (which will increase their pay by an average of $10,000 per year), many workers will strike and hold a rally in solidarity.

In response to a Deseret News request for comment on the labor actions, a Lyft spokesman declined to weigh-in on what he knew about potential strikes by Utah-based Lyft drivers, but did said say Lyft's compensation rates had been moving up, and that the average wage was over $20 per hour. "Over 75 percent drive less than 10 hours a week to supplement their existing jobs". Lyft introduced free bank accounts and discounts on vehicle rentals and maintenance for drivers; Uber's new Uber Pro program offers drivers free online education at ASU and cash-back options on gas.

While Uber has also cited studies showing its USA drivers were earning between $18-$20 per hour, a 2018 analysis by the Economic Policy Institute came to somewhat different conclusions.

Drive United said the action was in solidarity with protests in the USA and other areas of the world where drivers struggle with the independent contractor model.

A study by left-leaning Washington think tank Economic Policy Institute calculated that after all costs and taxes, Uber drivers earned the equivalent of $9.21 in hourly wages. Many want better pay from Uber rival Lyft Inc, as well. "After the IPO, Uber will face pressure from investors and the market to show financial improvements, which makes substantial increases in drivers' pay unlikely".

Both rideshare services released statements regarding drivers' wages.

Correction: An earlier version incorrectly stated the Uber IPO would raise $90 billion in new capital for the company.

It's not the first time drivers for ride-hailing apps have staged protests.

Atlantic Equities analyst James Cordwell called the results "pretty strong", with hints that Lyft was continuing to take market share from Uber.

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