NYC Uber Drivers on Strike Again Thursday

By Matis Glenn

Uber offices in Silicon Valley (123rf)

New York City Uber drivers are on strike Thursday for the second time in a month, to protest the rideshare giant’s refusal to grant them city-approved pay raises. The Taxi and Limousine Commission in November approved a raise of 7 percent per minute, and 24 percent per mile for app-based car services. Base fares for yellow cabs would increase from $2.50 to $3.00, and every meter unit – 1/5 of a mile – will go from $.50 to $.70.

Uber Drivers say that inflation and higher gas costs don’t allow them to make enough money under the current pay scheme, and yellow cab drivers additionally say that they’re facing mounting debt to pay off their medallions.

But Uber wasn’t ready to acquiesce to the TLC’s decision. The Silicon Valley corporation filed a lawsuit last month, saying that the pay raises are based on faulty data, and would necessitate raising fares by around 10 percent, which would  “irreparably damage Uber’s reputation,” and “risk permanent loss of business and customers.” A Manhattan judge ruled in favor of Uber on December 14, blocking the pay raise until a formal hearing will be held, on January 31.

Drivers didn’t take the news lightly. On December 18, Uber drivers across the city went on strike for 24 hours, and protested in front of Uber offices. “Uber keeps drivers insecure over low pay and firings and stole our raise, The New York Transit Workers Alliance, a union representing 25,000 TLC drivers in the city, wrote on social media. “Uber thinks drivers are expendable. Dara Khosrowshahi (Uber CEO) forgets we’re organized. We’re striking back.”

Thursday’s strike echoed the same sentiment.

“NYC Uber drivers are ON STRIKE!!!,” the union wrote on social media on Thursday. “Our strike goes until 11:59 pm tonight. We’re fighting for the raises that Uber stole from us!”

TLC Commissioner David Do said last month that despite the setback, the agency will continue to fight for the increases, and will appeal the court’s ruling.

“We are disappointed for the tens of thousands of drivers who are once again being made to bear the rising costs of inflation all on their own, with no help from the multibillion-dollar company they work under,” Do said in a statement. “We will aggressively defend this important standard for our drivers.”

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