Uber, Lyft drivers in Los Angeles plan to strike tomorrow

Photo: Matthew Horwood (Getty Images)

Ride-share drivers’ and app-based food-delivery drivers’ compensation has made headlines recently, and the Rideshare Drivers United Los Angeles hope to keep it there. Today, the organization and its members will stage a picket and rally at Uber’s Greenlight Hub in Redondo Beach, California, followed by a 25-hour strike beginning at midnight. The drivers demand a reversal of Uber’s recently announced 25-percent wage cut that reduced per-mile rates from 80 cents to 60 cents, and further demand all ride-share companies guarantee a $28 hourly minimum rate.

The Rideshare Drivers United Los Angeles says today’s demonstration and subsequent strike will be “the largest coordinated action among rideshare drivers in the United States.” During the rally, drivers are expected to speak about their experience living in poverty and even homelessness while driving for ride-share companies. Consumers could notice tomorrow’s strike if drivers for ride-share and food-delivery services like UberEats are unavailable or scarce, though in LA, it seems there would be sufficient non-striking drivers to keep food deliveries rolling.

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The demonstration and strike follow last month’s criticism of DoorDash and Instacart’s tipping policies, in which tips were sometimes applied to a driver’s base pay rather than augment it. Instacart changed that policy in response to the criticism, while DoorDash defended its drivers’ wages. In an email to DoorDash drivers, the company said its drivers earn an average of $17.50 or more per hour on deliveries, though a nonprofit labor group contends the rate is more like $6 per hour.

Rideshare and food-delivery app drivers have found it challenging to organize in the past, as rideshare companies consider drivers independent contractors, not employees. Because they’re only connected to the company via the app, the LA Times notes, it’s difficult for drivers to communicate with each other to coordinate action or collectively make demands. The group behind today’s grassroots rally and strike says the planning has occurred mostly through “person-to-person organizing.”

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Kate Bernot

Kate Bernot is managing editor at The Takeout and a certified beer judge.