Shortly ahead of Uber’s initial public offering, drivers of the company in New York plan on going on strike.
According to a report in Reuters citing a taxi union, Uber drivers, as well as Lyft and other ride-hailing app drivers, will strike Wednesday (May 8) for two hours. The strike will start at 7:00 a.m. EST. Reuters noted Uber is expected to price its IPO Thursday (May 9) and begin trading on the New York Stock exchange the day after. Drivers in New York aren’t the only ones planning to strike. Reuters reported strikes are scheduled in San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. Drivers are striking to demand job security, livable wages and a cap in terms of the amount the ride-hailing companies can take from the fares.
The strikes are aimed at shining a light on the disparities between the ride-hailing companies drivers and the executives who stand to earn millions from the IPO. Uber is expected to have a valuation of between $80.5 billion and $91.5 billion in its IPO. Drivers have long called on Uber to treat them as employees, affording them benefits and other perks of being an employee. Uber has contended they are contract workers and warned in its IPO filing that treating them as employees would have a negative impact on its business.
In an effort to appease drivers ahead of its IPO, Uber announced it will give awards drivers to the tune of $300 million, giving them as much as $40,000 each. Uber said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it planned to pay roughly $300 million to around 1.1 million drivers located across the globe. Uber said in the filing it was paying a one-time cash driver-appreciation reward to “acknowledge drivers who have participated in our success.” Drivers in jurisdictions where Uber runs its own operations are eligible for the bonus, the ride-hailing company said in the filing.