New York City Uber Drivers to go on Strike

By Mary Pat Luetke-Stahlman

As of last Thursday, Uber has filed to go public (IPO) and this has caused some of their drivers to plan a strike. The company lost $1.8 billion in 2018 and by it’s fourth quarter, Uber had 3.9 million drivers on its platform and took 1.5 billion trips. Lyft went public last month and quickly fell below its IPO price and has hit a all new low this week.

New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA) shared the pending plans for a protest “New York City drivers are expected to protest by logging off their app for two hours on wednesday in the morning.” CNN Business

NYC app driver demands include: 

  • Job security - end unfair deactivations that force drivers to live in fear of losing their livelihoods

  • Livable incomes - winning the cap and the minimum pay rate was just the first step. We demand an end to the scam of upfront pricing. 

  • Regulate the fare Uber/Lyft/Juno/Via charge passengers, and cap the companies' commission, guaranteeing 80-85% of the fare to the driver

New York City is currently Uber’s largest market and these drivers intend to send a message to Uber. Some other drivers plan on rallying outside the Long Island City offices for both Uber and Lyft on Wednesday afternoon. This is following Lyft’s IPO strike that occurred to voice concerns over recent pay cuts.

CNN Business stated that New York City is the first and only market to have implemented a minimum wage law for rideshare drivers. Under the new policy which went into effect on February 1, “drivers are supposed to earn a minimum take-home wage of $17.22 per hour.” (CNN Business)  

Jason Shaw commented on Facebook stating that he wonders if people realize that they are 1099 contractors and he is unsure of how this will help anything.

“I have been hearing about a planned strike by shareride drivers like Lyft and Uber. To those of my friends who are in that kind of work, I want to remind you all that these are not really an employment positions, as CSD which put so much emphasis on only to walk back on saying these were "jobs", just 1099 contractor type work so not sure how the strike will help. This is not the first time drivers went on strike, didn't the last round of strike resolve anything? I am wanting to hear from you, Lyft and Uber Deaf drivers.” Posted by Jason Shaw on Facebook.

”Independent contractors fill out a form called a 1099 in order to initiate a contractual agreement. Individuals that sign these forms are called independent contractors. According to the IRS, “If you are an independent contractor, you are self-employed.

Under the new policy, set by New York, such repercussions has had a negative impact on both Juno (another rideshare company) and Lyft “ Lyft estimates that the city's rideshare industry could see a $50 million decline in bookings in 2019.” The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) is the target of the lawsuits in place. TLC had been required by a bill passed in August of 2018 by the New York City Council  to establish a pay standard that would raise drivers’ earnings to 17.22 hourly.