Thousands of drivers for ride-sharing giants Uber and Lyft, and food delivery service DoorDash, are preparing to flex their collective muscle on Valentine’s Day in the United States. In an attempt to demand fair pay and improved working conditions, drivers of these platforms will go on a coordinated nationwide strike.
The demonstrations will take place on February 14 from 11 am to 1 pm, according to blog by Justice for App Workers, a union of rideshare drivers and delivery workers in the US. During the strike, the drivers will not take rides to or from any airport in Austin, Chicago, Hartford, Miami, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Rhode Island, and Tampa, it added.
“Uber, Lyft, and delivery drivers are TIRED of being mistreated by the app companies. We’re sick of working 80 hours/week just to make ends meet, being constantly scared for our safety, and worrying about being deactivated with the click of a button,” the blog stated.
This action marks the largest such protest by gig workers since Uber and Lyft went public in 2019, according to a Reuters report.
The strike comes amidst growing frustration among drivers who feel they are being squeezed by the platforms they work for. Classified as independent contractors, they lack employee benefits and protections, while facing fluctuating pay often determined by opaque algorithms. While platforms like Lyft have recently implemented measures like guaranteed weekly earnings, drivers remain skeptical.
The strike targets a crucial day for both ride-sharing and food delivery services, likely causing disruptions during a high-demand period. Drivers hope this action will not only disrupt business but also garner public attention and pressure companies to address their demands.
Uber, which recently reported first annual operating profit since transitioning to a limited company, downplays the impact of such strike, claiming they rarely affect business. However, the sheer number of participating drivers and the coordinated nature of the action suggest a potential turning point. Meanwhile, official comments from these ride-hailing and food delivery companies are still awaited.