Uber, Lyft Drivers In New York City, Los Angeles And San Fransisco Plan Strikes Next Week To Protest Pay

Uber and Lyft drivers have planned a strike and rally in New York City next week to protest the plans of both companies to go public amid wage disagreements between executives and drivers.

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA) said its rideshare drivers plan to log off the apps for two hours on May 8 as a way to protest for higher wages, two days before Uber stock is scheduled to go public.

The protest would happen between 7 and 9 a.m. ET on Wednesday, according to the New York Post. There are approximately 10,000 drivers for Uber, Lyft and other app-based ridesharing companies in New York City.

Drivers say competition between the two companies brought more cars and slashed fares during the price war, and that wages remain stagnant while the upcoming stock rollout will leave the corporate leaders much richer.

Bhairavi Desai, the executive director of NYTWA, said the protest is to send a message to the corporate leaders who could pocket billions of dollars with the IPO launch.

"Wall Street investors are telling Uber and Lyft to cut down on driver income, stop incentives, and go faster to driverless cars," Desai said. "With the IPO, Uber's corporate owners are set to make billions, all while drivers are left in poverty and go bankrupt. That's why NYTWA members are joining the international strike to stand up to Uber greed."

The NYTWA said there will also be a rally outside the Long Island City headquarters for both Uber and Lyft at 1 p.m. Friday.

Sonam Lama, who has driven for Uber since 2015, said the rate cuts and the saturation of cars on the roads have left the drivers with less money in their own pockets.

"I'm striking for my kid's future. I have a 5-year-old son, and I drive for Uber to support him. But it's becoming harder and harder," Lama said on AM New York. "Uber executives are getting rich off of our work, they should treat us with respect. We are striking to send a message that drivers will keep rising up."

Lyft attempted to block a New York City rule that mandated a minimum wage of $17.22 per hour for drivers, but State Supreme Court Judge Andrea Masley earlier this week ruled in favor of the city and its drivers, and that drew praise from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"This is a victory for the hardworking drivers of New York City, who have been taken advantage of by these companies for far too long," de Blasio said. "With a guaranteed fair income, they can better provide for their families...this decision is the culmination of years of effort to raise driver pay and treat some of the city's hardest workers fairly."

Drivers in San Francisco will also stage a protest on May 8 by logging out of their apps from lunch hour to evening rush hour and then from rush hour to midnight. Another strike is planned in Los Angeles and set to last 24 hours.

The protests have been organized by Rideshare Drivers United.

"The actions are taking place in Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta, DC, Boston, and Philly. Only Rideshare Drivers United - Los Angeles and San Diego have officially called strikes. The other cities are independently organized and putting together a variety of different actions for a unified National Day of Action," a spokesperson for Rideshare Drivers United told WJLA-TV.