For love nor money | 'Thousands and thousands' of Lyft, Uber, & DoorDash drivers to strike on Valentine's Day over unfair pay

'Thousands and thousands' of Lyft, Uber, & DoorDash drivers to strike on Valentine's Day over unfair pay

Thousands of drivers working for Lyft, Uber, and Doordash are set to strike on Valentine’s Day over demands for fair pay.

Multiple drivers’ unions including Justice For App Workers and Rideshare Drivers United have united to organize walkouts across the U.S., affecting both ride-hailing and food-delivery services.

The unions cite unfair pay, worker safety, and unreasonable working hours as the motivation behind the strikes.

“Drivers across the country are telling Lyft and Uber enough is enough! With the significant decrease in pay we've all felt this winter, drivers are taking action across the globe,” reads a statement from Rideshare Drivers United.

This follows Lyft’s announcement last week that drivers would be guaranteed weekly earnings. “We are constantly working to improve the driver experience,” says Lyft, speaking to Reuters.

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Lyft drivers will now be entitled to at least 70% of the rider fee following historic complaints that the company takes unfair proportion of commissions. The move is designed to lure drivers into working for Lyft. “We think hopefully it will get more drivers driving for Lyft, but also just make the whole sector stronger," says David Risher, CEO.

However, the news of the strike indicates drivers are still unhappy with their pay. “We are going to make it clear that drivers won't stop fighting until we've won the fair pay and dignity that we all deserve,” concludes the statement from Rideshare Drivers United.

Union president Nicole Moore tells Reuters the decrease in pay cited in Rideshare Drivers United’s statement is due to algorithmic pricing. “Whatever calculations and algorithms they're using, it's useless,” she says.

The strike activity and Moore’s accusation are supported by similar walkouts in the UK. Drivers from a grassroots group, Delivery Job UK, who work for food delivery platforms including Deliveroo and Uber Eats are striking for better pay and conditions. An organizer for Delivery Job UK described the algorithm for determining driver pay as very random. “We don’t know the algorithm, we don’t know how it’s calculated,” they said.

A statement from Justice For App Workers says the union says drivers from Uber, Lyft, and other companies are “tired” of being mistreated. “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,” it reads.

The disruption to Valentine’s Day plans is set to be widespread. Uber and Lyft drivers from the Justice For App Workers union, which has over 100,000 members, will conduct any airport pickups or drop-offs in locations including Austin, Chicago, Hartford, Miami, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Rhode Island, and Tampa, and will instead hold rallies at each location.

“This is the biggest strike I've ever seen, thousands and thousands of drivers ... it's going to be nationwide," says Jonathan Cruz, a driver in Miami and a member of the Justice For App Workers coalition.

Thousands of drivers from other unions will also turn off their apps and ignore requests to pick up and drop off passengers or food deliveries.

Uber believes the walkouts will not make a significant difference to its business as the majority of its drivers do not participate in such strikes. Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO, recently reported that driver earnings were strong in Q4 of 2023 with drivers making around $33 per hour on average.

A blog post from Lyft that investigated rider earnings in Q3 and Q4 of 2023 found drivers using their personal vehicle earned $30.68 an hour before expenses or $23.46 an hour after expenses. The hourly rates relate to what Uber calls “utilized hours” and Lyft calls “engaged time”.

But as strikes continue, drivers for companies like Lyft, Uber, Doordash, and other ride-hailing or food delivery apps believe their pay is simply not enough. A driver from Dallas, Shantwan Humphrey, says drivers are not being paid a living wage, and are “barely able t

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