Group of Uber Drivers Strike Nationwide
Photo via Facebook/Uber Freedom
The latest protest against ride-hailing service Uber is coming from within. As reported by Mashable, a group of drivers for the company under the banner “Uber Freedom” are calling for their fellow workers across the U.S. to strike over the weekend, in such major cities as Houston, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Participating drivers began ignoring the app Friday and will continue to do so until Sunday, Mashable said, noting that Uber Freedom’s event page on Facebook has over 1,200 confirmed strikers. A December study estimated that there are 162,000 U.S. Uber drivers total.
According to Mashable, the group is demanding the addition of a tip option to the app, an increase of both the minimum fare and cancellation fee to $7, and the raising of Uber X fares by 60 percent.
A major benefit touted by Uber is the chance to “be your own boss,” and this has become a point of major contention. But, as Mashable pointed out, this has led to drivers being classified as independent contractors, and not eligible for benefits.
Striking drivers don’t seem to feel like their own boss, though. Fortune reported from the protest Friday outside Uber’s San Francisco office, and quoted Abe Hussein, a former Uber driver from Kansas City, who declared, “The Uber drivers are anything but their own boss,” saying that the inability to control their own rates shows what little control they actually have.
“We’re fighting to make our presence known this week to tell them that we’re sick of their B.S.,” Hussein told gathered protesters and reporters. “They no longer can treat us like machines.”
A statement from an Uber spokesperson emailed to Mashable in response to a request for comment about the strike reiterated the company’s philosophy: “We always welcome feedback from driver-partners. Each week, tens of thousands of drivers across the U.S. begin using the Uber app to make money on their own time, to reach their own goals. Drivers say they value the flexibility and the chance to be their own boss, and choose Uber over other options because it fits around their life and works for them.”
This isn’t the first protest by drivers outside of Uber offices. Mashable noted that on the occasion of a “Global Day of Protest” in October 2014, around 50 people showed up to demonstrate.
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