SAN FRANCISCO — Ride-hailing drivers throughout the nation went on strike Wednesday, saying their earnings are declining and calling on the U.S. Senate to move the PRO Act to permit them to arrange.
In California, drivers mentioned the guarantees Uber Technologies Inc.
and Lyft Inc.
made final yr throughout the companies’ record-breaking Proposition 22 campaign have fallen quick. More than half of California voters passed the ballot initiative, which supplied assured earnings and health-care stipends, permitting the businesses to bypass a state legislation that may’ve required them to deal with drivers as staff as a substitute of impartial contractors.
Drivers within the state say they nonetheless lack respectable pay and advantages, and are asking federal lawmakers to behave to allow them to acquire the proper to affix unions and collectively discount. As Uber and Lyft acknowledge that costs for rides are excessive and that they don’t have sufficient drivers to satisfy rising demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic, some drivers nonetheless contend they’re seeing declining charges for his or her efforts.
Drivers stopped working and converged at Uber headquarters in San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon, chanting “Prop. 22, somebody lied to you.”
Ibrahim Diallo, an immigrant from Mali who lives in San Francisco, advised MarketWatch on the rally that he has pushed for Uber since 2015, and his earnings have decreased over time. Diallo mentioned he’s having to work extra hours than earlier than to outlive, and with the latest scarcity of drivers, he mentioned it has been arduous to take breaks.
“Am I a robot?” he requested. “If you don’t take a break, you’ll get tired and could get in an accident.”
Esterphanie St. Juste, a longtime driver and organizer with Rideshare Drivers United (RDU) in Los Angeles, mentioned Uber has lowered what it pays drivers out of Los Angeles International Airport to 32 cents a mile.
“Can you imagine being paid 32 cents for anything in the U.S., and with gas prices rising?” she requested.
Brian Dolber, an affiliate professor at California State University, San Marcos, and an organizer with RDU, mentioned drivers out of LAX had been beforehand making 58 cents a mile.
“Prior to that it was 80 cents per mile, and years before that it was $1.50,” Dolber mentioned. “Long-term drivers have seen substantial declines in pay. These companies hooked people in, where people were making a decent living, but without any legal protections, drivers saw their rates lowered repeatedly.”
Drivers additionally demonstrated on the L.A. airport on Wednesday, and comparable efforts had been deliberate in eight different cities, in response to RDU: San Diego, Austin, Boston, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Denver and Baltimore.
Uber and Lyft pushed again in opposition to the drivers’ allegations Wednesday.
“Drivers are busier now than they were even before the pandemic started,” a Lyft spokesman mentioned. “In our top markets, drivers are making more than $30 an hour, substantially higher than pre-COVID.” An Uber spokeswoman mentioned the median earnings for Uber drivers when they’re on the app is $32.33 an hour.
The drivers’ motion comes forward of a Senate committee listening to on HR 482 — also referred to as the Protect the Right to Organize Act, or PRO Act — scheduled for Thursday morning. The invoice, which the U.S. House of Representatives passed in March, has thus far fallen in need of the help it must be taken up by the Senate.
“The only job of a business is to make profit for their owners and stockholders,” St. Juste advised MarketWatch on Wednesday. “The PRO Act will give us our voice and give us the power to make changes.”
Both gig corporations touted “driver independence” of their response to drivers urging lawmakers to move the PRO Act.
“Lyft is fighting to expand benefits and protections for drivers in a way that allows them to keep their independence,” that firm’s spokesman mentioned. Uber’s spokeswoman mentioned: “Uber believes we should advance policies that improve independent work, instead of eliminating it.”
The San Francisco rally included politicians and activists. California Assemblyman Ash Kalra, a Democrat, known as the PRO Act “a backstop” in opposition to “the downward spiral of our society.”
“[The gig companies] can just spend a bunch of money and make their own laws,” he mentioned.
Eddy Hernandez, a former Uber engineer who stop his job in solidarity with drivers throughout final yr’s Proposition 22 marketing campaign, mentioned that “tech workers need to demand an end to second-class employment status.”
“How does Uber know what drivers want if they don’t have a voice on the job?” he requested.