Home / Featured / Uber, Lyft drivers protest pay reductions in one-day boycott – Press Enterprise
Uber, Lyft drivers protest pay reductions in one-day boycott – Press Enterprise

Uber, Lyft drivers protest pay reductions in one-day boycott – Press Enterprise

More than 200 rideshare drivers from Los Angeles and Orange counties protested Monday, March 25, at an Uber headquarters in Redondo Beach, demonstrating against what they say are unfair pay reductions instituted earlier this month.

Drivers for both Uber and Lyft held signs along Marine Avenue near the transit station, chanting slogans such as “Hell no to the IPO,” referencing preparations by both companies to soon be publicly traded.

Some of the demonstrators heckled drivers in cars with Uber insignia trying to enter the company’s offices, urging them not to work for the day in solidarity with protesters.

Rideshare Drivers United, which represents roughly 3,000 drivers – but is not a recognized union because workers are not full-time employees – called for the one-day boycott last week.

Spokeswoman and driver Nicole Moore said both Uber and Lyft were on a “race to the bottom” as far as pay rates. On March 11, Uber reduced the mileage rate for its drivers by 25 percent, down to 60 cents, just two cents above the federal mileage rate for tax deductions.

“Some of these folks are living in their cars,” Moore said. “As the pay goes lower and lower, there’s no way they can get out of their cars.”

An Uber spokesperson said on Monday that while the company decreased the mileage rate, it also increased the per minute rate, which should make average pay rates comparable to before September 2018 when rates increased.

The per-minute rate jumped from 15 cents to 21 cents. But the minimum fare dropped to $2.62 from $3.75 and the more crucial per-mile rate dropped to 60 cents from 80 cents. Drivers are demanding a near $28 minimum wage.

“Drivers told us that they value promotion opportunities, so we’re introducing a new Quest promotion feature, while also changing the per minute, per mile and minimum fare rates,” the spokesperson said. “These changes will make rates comparable to where they were in September while giving drivers more control over how they earn by allowing them to build a model that fits their schedule best.”

One driver, Keith Eberl, 47, from Long Beach, said the new pricing structure made it more difficult for drivers to make money.

“I keep having to adjust my strategy because of these price reductions,” Eberl said. “A lot of guys like me rely on mileage at night when there is no traffic.”

Rideshare driver Cashon Jos, 28, came from Altadena to participate in the protest. She has been driving for five years and said the most recent pay reduction pushed her over the line to stop working for the rideshare companies.

“It’s like they’ve got this big contraption set up designed to push the limit of what they can get away with until they get push back and right now the drivers are pushing back,” Jos said, standing beside the noisy protest.

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