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Why Lyft, Uber drivers went on a 24-hour strike

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SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A few dozen Uber and Lyft drivers gathered in San Diego on Wednesday, in a 24-hour strike in several cities to push for new federal labor protections.

Protesters said their incomes and working conditions have deteriorated since Californians passed Proposition 22. Rideshare companies have spent record sums to support the November ballot measure, which reclassified drivers as entrepreneurs. self-employed instead of employees.

Participants in the 24-hour strike hope the federal government will address some of the changes in a bill currently before the US Senate.
The strike comes as demand for races has resumed after months of pandemic restrictions, but many drivers have yet to return to platforms.

Drivers will not work for below-standard wages and as second-class workers, said Brian Dolber, organizer of Rideshare Drivers United.

A shortage of drivers has led to long waits for groceries and skyrocketing prices. Carpool prices in Q2 2021 were up 79% from Q2 2019, according to Gridwise.

However, Uber drivers no longer get a proportional reduction in that pay rise after the changes the company made this spring.

We used to get a piece of it. We don’t do that anymore, said Carlos, a carpool driver who asked that his last name not be disclosed in this story, fearing he might face retaliation from the platforms.

He described the change as demoralizing and one of the reasons fueling the shortage.

An experience this month by Local mission demonstrates the disconnect between the prices of journeys and the remuneration of the driver. Staff booked 20 Lyft and Uber trips in the San Francisco area. On average, they found that drivers only kept 52% of what they paid.

In April, Uber stopped paying drivers based on customer rate. They switched back to a system that the company uses across most of the country, which is based on time, distance and bonuses.

Uber says driver pay per trip has increased across the country. It rose 37% from January to May, according to a tweet from Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

In an email to ABC 10News, a Lyft spokesperson said drivers were earning significantly more than before the pandemic, up to $ 30 an hour in some cities in California. Lyft decoupled driver compensation from the amount paid by passengers in 2016.

But some drivers argue their earnings after Proposition 22 are not transparent and said the health benefits and flexibility they were promised were not achieved. People on Medicare or Medi-Cal, for example, are not eligible for a subsidy for health care.

All this only locked the drivers in as a group of second-class workers. And between that and the pandemic, frankly, drivers have had enough, Dolber said.

The protests in San Diego and ten other cities are designed to rally support for the Right to Organize Protection Act, known as the PRO Act. Federal law would give independent contractors the right to bargain collectively and to organize.

The legislation was passed by the House of Representatives in March and is awaiting a vote in the US Senate.

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