NYC rideshare drivers strike over blocked pay increase

This holiday week, we see news from all corners of the gig work platforms we know and love. The ongoing pay dispute in NYC hit the news again this week as drivers protested the courts blocking the pay increase drivers were promised, while Uber says the strike had zero impact. Find out what else is in store for drivers this week in this week’s roundup with senior RSG contributor Paula Lemar. 

Uber Says New York City Driver Strike Doesn’t Hurt Service (WSJ)

Summary: Uber Technologies Inc. said service in New York City was not affected Monday by a 24-hour strike set by a union that represents drivers.

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance organized the strike after a judge temporarily blocked wage increases that were supposed to go into effect Monday. The union and supporters of the striking Uber drivers asked New Yorkers not to use the ride-hailing app.

Uber said there were 3% more drivers online Monday morning than on an average Monday during the last half of the year. Ubers were available on the app Monday.   

“Drivers were out there today doing critical work for New Yorkers, not listening to political chatter on Twitter,” Uber spokesman Josh Gold said in a statement….

My Take: This isn’t the first time, and it’ll be far from the last time drivers will strike against Uber and Lyft pay. A nationwide organized strike happened in 2021. So, why does Uber say these strikes don’t actually hurt their service?

For one, because there are SO many drivers, if some strike, others will bank on it and drive on purpose that day instead of standing in solidarity with their fellow drivers. They just see the dollar signs of what this decrease in supply can mean, and they take advantage of that.

Second, it’s nearly impossible, without a union backing it, to get the drivers organized enough to make a noticeable impact.

Basically, it boils down to these kinds of strikes are likely just minor annoyances to Uber. That’s not to say that there isn’t a reason to strike or that drivers should stop trying. We deserve better pay, across the nation, but most especially when that’s what the city (NYC) tells the company (Uber) must happen. Here’s hoping the pay increase pulls through for these drivers.

Detroit Popeyes shuts down after DoorDash driver video shows cockroaches on food order (Fox News)

Summary: A Popeyes chicken restaurant in Detroit, Michigan, was forced to close this week after a video posted online from a DoorDash driver showed cockroaches crawling around the store.

“They got roaches y’all,” the driver said in one of the videos along with footage of roaches crawling around the counter and around the food order.  “Running all over the straws.”

“I told the workers they all just back there, they cleared out,” the woman says. “They just laughin.”

A spokesperson for Popeyes confirmed to Fox News Digital the store, located on Detroit’s east side, was temporarily shut down in response to the video….

My Take: Ok, I think we can all agree…ew. But also, I wonder how many other restaurants have similar issues and would have similar reactions…laughter. *shudders*

Aren’t there inspections and such that help combat this kind of issue? Does the owner never stop in the restaurant to make sure things are running the way they should?

I’m assuming the workers there would have the attitude of “not my monkeys, not my circus.” Reporting something like this would mean losing your paycheck unless the restaurant covers your pay while it’s closed to fix the issue.

But someone in a higher position should have known something was up. That’s just gross. Thank you, Dasher, for reporting this. I hope others follow suit.

The battle over gig worker status is heating up (TechCrunch)

Summary: The fight over whether gig workers are independent contractors or employees has been heating up this week on both state and federal levels. The stakes? A once disruptive business model could soon be disrupted itself.

On the state level, this week has seen developments in the Proposition 22 saga as companies relying on gig workers put forth a slew of arguments against last year’s ruling that the law was unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable. Prop 22, a California ballot initiative, passed into law in 2020, allowing app-based ride-hail and delivery companies to continue classifying gig workers as independent contractors rather than employees. In August 2021, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch found the law conflicts with the state Constitution by restricting the legislature’s ability to regulate workers’ compensation rules.

In response to Roesch’s ruling, the very same coalition of major gig companies — like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart — that spent millions on advertising to convince Californians to vote for Prop 22 filed an appeal to overturn the court ruling. On Tuesday, they called the challenge to Prop 22 an “attack on voters’ direct democracy powers” and out of line with California’s legacy of “guard[ing] voter initiative powers and uphold[ing] their acts wherever possible.”…

My Take: We’ve seen this in the news more and more since May 2021 when the government decided to step in…again. At that time, President Biden blocked a Trump-era rule that was set up to make it easier for companies like Uber and Lyft to continue classifying their drivers as contractors under Federal law.

The public comment period for this block is ending, which is why this is coming to light again. Much like Prop 22 and AB5 in California, these changes will have sweeping effects…some good, some not so good.

For the time being, since it’s government-led instead of led by the companies themselves, it’s hard to see the overall impacts and know what the true intentions of this change are. It also feels like it’ll take a while before it’ll be implemented and affect drivers.

What do you think of this rule? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Elon Musk’s Stalker Is an Uber Eats Driver Who Says Musk Is Stalking Him (Entrepreneur)

Summary: The identity of the man Elon Musk called a “crazy stalker” has been revealed.

According to a report in the Washington Post, the hooded mystery man is Brandon Collado—an Uber Eats driver in the Los Angeles area.

Collado allegedly confronted Musk’s security detail at a gas station in South Pasadena, blocking Musk’s car and then jumping on the hood. Musk was not in the vehicle, but his son X was, causing the billionaire to post alarming videos of the incident on Twitter….

My Take: Speaking of being in the news a lot…after Musk’s acquisition of Twitter a few months ago, you can’t shake a stick without hitting a story about Musk. This one, however, is related to rideshare in that he seems to have a stalker that is also an Uber Eats driver.

Or is it the other way around? Is Musk and his ex stalking this Uber Eats driver and blocking his orders?

Also in the news…

Ride-hailing startup offers W-2 employment alternative to app-based drivers (Auto News)

Thoughts: Senior RSG contributor Sergio Avedian was quoted in this article about when Uber and Lyft were gaining in popularity and how it differs from now. Read it to see if you agree with his statements.

USPS expects to only buy electric delivery vehicles starting in 2026 (Engadget)

Thoughts: This is a great way to lead by example. The government wants people to start purchasing EVs instead of gas vehicles, so here’s a way to get that point across…they are doing it too.

Keep up with the latest in EV news as it relates to rideshare drivers on RSG’s Uber & Lyft EV Drivers Facebook page.

My Journey Here: Interviews with Entrepreneurs (Spotify)

Thoughts: Tune into this Spotify podcast interviewing RSG’s Harry Campbell about how he got started in the ridesharing industry. Listen to the podcast episode to learn more about everything Harry does to help out rideshare drivers.

If you’re an NYC driver, did you participate in the strike? Do you feel like it was effective? 

-Paula @ RSG