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Expect Fewer Ubers on the Road Today

Drivers striking ahead of company's IPO debut
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2019 8:33 AM CDT
A sign marks a pick-up point for the Uber car service at LaGuardia Airport in New York on March 15, 2017.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

(Newser) – Uber drivers from Australia to the UK, including in at least 10 US cities, are logging off the app Wednesday to protest the company's Friday IPO offering. With Uber's expected $90 billion valuation, drivers say investors stand to get rich, while they struggle with low pay, limited benefits, and a lack of transparency, per Reuters and the Los Angeles Times. Uber drivers and some Lyft drivers in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, New York City, Washington, Chicago, and Atlanta are taking part in the strike, which ranges in length depending on location. NYC's strike will take place during morning rush hour, while LA drivers plan to strike for a full day, per NBC News. The hope is to force legislators "to step in and actually say, 'No, you have to treat your workers fairly regardless of how you classify them,'" a driver in San Francisco tells the Times.

"It is the drivers who have created this extraordinary wealth but they continue to be denied even the most basic workplace rights," a rep for the UK's United Private Hire Drivers tells Reuters. Both Uber and Lift, operating at a loss while trying to demonstrate growth to investors, have said higher pay and full-time benefits for drivers—viewed as contractors rather than employees—would hurt business. Ahead of its IPO, however, Uber paid $300 million in bonuses to more than 1 million of its 3 million drivers globally, with a rep noting it would "continue working to improve the experience." Bernie Sanders isn't convinced. "Uber says it can't pay its drivers more money, but rewarded its CEO with nearly $50 million last year," he said in a Friday tweet, adding "people who work for multibillion-dollar companies should not have to work 70 or 80 hours a week to get by." (Read more strike stories.)

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