Rideshare drivers are tired of not getting paid what they feel they deserve. One of the few ways drivers have to express their frustration is through striking.
On Wednesday, July 21, 2021, Rideshare Drivers United is calling on all rideshare drivers to strike.
Learn more about the strike at our video here or keep reading below!: Nationwide Lyft & Uber Driver Strike Is Happening On July 21! Will it WORK?!
Why is Rideshare Drivers United Calling for a Driver Strike?
The rideshare platforms are saying there’s a driver shortage due to the pandemic, but it’s more than that. We’ve heard from drivers all over the country who are not driving because they can’t make a living on the pay cuts platforms like Uber and Lyft have put in place.
On the Rideshare Drivers United website, they state, “We are striking for fair pay, stopping second class status, the PRO Act.”
If you’re unfamiliar with the PRO Act, catch up by reading PRO Act Could Redefine Labor Laws for Gig Workers Nationwide.
RDU also cite the following issues that app-based companies have done (or not done):
- Reduced Mileage Rates, Lowered Commissions, Taken Away Flexibility and Transparency
- Continue to Exploit Workers by Manipulating Algorithms
- Broken Promises of Prop 22
Where is the Strike Happening?
While the strike is originating in California, drivers all over the country are encouraged to participate. Some cities have organized picket locations where you can actively show your support.
- Los Angeles — 24-hour strike and picket line @ 1 pm at LAX (Airport Landing Viewpoint, W 92nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90045)
- San Diego — 24-hour strike and rally at Lyft Office (1240 W Morena Blvd. San Diego, CA 92110)
- San Francisco — 24-hour strike and rally at Uber HQ near Embarcadero (1725 3rd St. San Francisco, CA 94158)
- Austin — 24-hour strike and rally at Uber Greenlight
- Boston — 24-hour strike and car caravan from South Bay to State House
- Cleveland — 24-hour strike and driver BBQ at Madison Park
- Las Vegas — 24-hour strike and rally at Uber Greenlight Hub
- Pittsburgh — 24-hour strike and driver meet-up at South Shore Riverfront Park
- Denver — 24-hour strike and picket (location not listed, but according to a post on Reddit, it will be at the Lyft Driver Center in Aurora from 8AM to 6PM)
These are just the ones specifically organized by Rideshare Drivers United. There may be other events in your area.
Check out Facebook groups and Reddit to see if there’s one in your market, or if you know of a strike in your city, drop it in the comments section!
Challenges of Organizing Hundreds of Thousands of Drivers
There are millions of drivers out there now. Reaching out to all of them is a daunting and difficult task.
Also, not everyone is online, despite how it may seem, so just “sharing on social media” isn’t sufficient to reach everyone.
There have been lots of strikes in the past that have gotten media attention and some traction, but nothing ever came of them because it’s not enough to just bring attention to driver’s plights. You also need to back it up with a meaningful number of drivers.
Even though drivers may not all be online, they do have one thing in common: they go out and drive. Here are a few tips that Harry has on where to find drivers to talk about organizing:
- Airport Lots: Since Uber uses a queuing system at most major airports, drivers wait up to an hour in cities like LA and SF for just one ride. So you can imagine how many bored Uber drivers there are in these airport lots who would be pretty willing to listen to you.
- Passenger Rides: Uber’s low minimum fares are brutal for drivers but they can actually be used effectively to organize. If you had a team of 10 passionate and dedicated drivers, you could go out and take 5-10 min. Uber rides for a couple bucks all day long. This would give you face time to pitch drivers, collect some info from them and help your cause.
- Uber Office Hours: Local strikes in the past have taken place outside Uber’s headquarters, but to me, it would seem much more effective to strike in front of the place where Uber is helping out frustrated drivers and onboarding new ‘partners’. If Uber’s going to aggregate drivers for you, you might as well take advantage of that.
- Fleet Owners: In cities like New York where most drivers work for fleet owners, a handful of fleet owners employ a large number of drivers.
Another key factor is accountability. It’s one thing for drivers to “sign up” or say online that they are going to strike, but getting them to commit to it and actually do it is a whole other story.
Finally, it’s key to get media attention to help spread the word, but even with media attention, the real change happens when you get Uber and Lyft to actually listen by impacting their bottom line.
The Most Recent Driver Strike
In May 2019, we saw what was one of the largest Uber and Lyft protests to date, with cities around the world going on strike anywhere from 2 hours to the full day. The protests gathered tons of support and media attention, and even received attention from presidential hopefuls and other politicians.
One of the main demonstrations was planned by Rideshare Drivers United in Los Angeles, and had a fairly clear message of a drivers’ bill of rights and protesting the various pay cuts Uber and Lyft continue to make.
Some drivers and reporters told Harry they had trouble getting information about the strike but overall, he thought it was well organized and well coordinated. After the first strike in March, Harry opted in to RDU’s text service (which you can do on their website) and ‘Jeff’ from RDU had been sending him periodic updates. About a week before the May 8 strike, RDU sent out most of the details of the strike via text:
Apps off midnight to midnight on May 8th
Morning and afternoon picket at LAX
12 noon rally
Harry also got a call/voicemail over the weekend from an RDU organizer and an e-mail from RDU on Monday morning, two days before the strike that had all the details of the strike. Overall, the strike seemed well put together and organized.
Will you be striking on July 21? What do you hope to achieve?
-Paula @ RSG