Don’t Cross the Uber, Lyft Picket Line on Valentine’s Day

Thousands of Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash drivers and delivery workers will go on strike across the United States on Wednesday, Feb. 14. The drivers seek fair wages, safety protections, and more job security from ridesharing and delivery apps.

“Uber, Lyft, and delivery drivers are TIRED of being mistreated by the app companies,” said Justice for App Workers, a national coalition with over 130,000 members, in a blog post. “Across the country, in Austin, Chicago, Hartford, Miami, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Rhode Island, and Tampa, we’re not taking rides to or from any airport on February 14.”

Rideshare Drivers United (RDU), another driver-led organization in Los Angeles with over 5,000 members, will turn off their apps altogether on Valentine’s Day. RDU says in a blog post that significant pay decreases over the winter are a primary reason for this day of action. At this time, Gizmodo was unable to confirm the pay decreases in question.

Rideshare drivers faced an 8% decline in gross earnings per hour in 2023, according to an independent analysis called “The State of Gig Driver Pay” from Gridwise. The company estimates that the average rideshare driver was earning $20 per hour, after expenses, back in September 2023. Notably, this is very different from Uber’s data, which claims its drivers receive over $33 an hour before expenses, up nearly $10 from 2018. Lyft told Gizmodo its drivers earned over $23 an hour after expenses last year.

Whatever a driver’s wages may be, RDU and Justice for App Workers are striking because they feel they’re not being compensated enough. RDU drivers called this winter season “the worst earnings they’ve ever experienced” in a statement.

“I can’t remember having a harder time making money on the apps,” says RDU driver Eduardo Romero. “I am having to work ten hour days to make the same amount I was able to do in six, and even then I’m still not making enough.”

The driver-led organizations hope to send a message to the app companies this Valentine’s Day. RDU says drivers “won’t stop fighting until we’ve won the fair pay and dignity we all deserve.” The organization says similar strikes will occur in San Francisco, San Diego, Portland, and other cities.

Uber and Lyft just settled a wage theft investigation by agreeing to pay out $328 million to New York Drivers in November. Attorney General Letitia James said these companies have “systematically cheated their drivers out of hundreds of millions of dollars” while they work long hours in challenging conditions. The settlement allowed Uber and Lyft to not admit fault, however.

“These types of events have rarely had any impact on trips, prices, or driver availability, and we expect the same tomorrow,” said Uber in a statement to Gizmodo. “That’s because the vast majority of drivers are satisfied.”

However, Uber Eats driver and labor organizer Josh Woods told Bloomberg that rideshare companies recently dampened the effects of a New York minimum wage rule they fought hard to achieve. Uber and DoorDash recently made it more difficult to tip delivery drivers in New York City, according to Bloomberg.

New York passed a new wage law that was supposed to benefit workers, but Uber and Lyft said they’d have to pass the costs onto consumers. As a compromise, Uber and DoorDash reportedly made their tipping options less accessible.

“We are constantly working to improve the driver experience,” said Lyft in a statement to Gizmodo. “Just this month we released a series of new offers and commitments aimed at increasing driver pay and transparency.”

Justice for App Workers will hold rallies at airports around the country between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. RDU will host a picket line at the Los Angeles Uber Greenlight Hub at noon PT.

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