With the announcement of new IPOs, drivers for ride-share companies Uber and Lyft have revealed planned strikes in cities throughout the United States. The drivers claim that working conditions and payment are unfair. For example, ride share drivers in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco have all said they will refuse to drive on Wednesday May 8 between the hours of 7am and 9pm.
This matter is quite serious, as rideshare drivers in New York coordinated their strike with drivers of the New York Taxi Worker’s Alliance (NYTWA) to emphasize their demands over things like job security, the living wage, and commission caps. In case you did not know, the company caps commission at a guaranteed 80 to 85 percent of driver fare proceeds.
According to NYTWA Executive Director Bhairavi Desai, Lyft’s IPO plans incited drivers to fight back against what they view as unfair working conditions and terms. Ride share drivers, apparently, claim these conditions are definitely directed at corporate-level employees and not those doing the actual work.
In a statement, Desai said, “Wall Street investors are telling Uber and Lyft to cut down on driver income, stop incentives, and go faster to Driverless Cars. Uber and Lyft wrote in their S1 filings that they think they pay drivers too much already. With the IPO, Uber’s corporate owners are set to make billions, all while drivers are left in poverty and go bankrupt.”
Indeed, many drivers have commented that they used to be able to make a decent living as a ride-share app driver.
Lyft debuted on the Nasdaq Composite index in March—so barely two months ago—reaching $29 billion in valuation on just the first day. It was an impressive feat, to boot, but Lyft was also the first ride-share company in history to go public. But Lyft’s breakthrough was the beginning of a new trend. Following Lyft’s IPO, more than 100 tech unicorns—these are companies with at least a $1 billion valuation—to consider going public in 2019. This includes big names like Pinterest, Airbnb, and Lyft rival Uber.