Uber riders may find available rides in short supply on Tuesday as “hundreds” of drivers in two dozen U.S. cities go on strike. The action is intended to raise awareness of a desire by not only Uber drivers, but fast-food cooks, airport baggage handlers, home care workers, child care teachers, and graduate assistants wanting to receive a fair day’s pay — they’re fighting for the $15 per hour minimum wage.
Protests are supposed to be taking places in cities such as Denver, Boston, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco. As part of the Fight for $15 event, Uber drivers will march in solidarity with others and aim to disrupt service, thereby highlighting to riders the important roles these service people play in daily life.
“Workers in the Fight for $15 have created a powerful movement that boldly proclaims everyone who puts in a hard day’s work should receive a fair day’s pay,” said Adam Shahim, a Pittsburg, California Uber driver, in a canned statement.
Drivers plan to demonstrate their contempt for the current $7.25 minimum wage by having their cars sit idle in high-profile places. They’ll be non-responsive at San Francisco International Airport, walking alongside airport and fast-food workers with signs saying “Your Uber Driver is Striking.”
The event comes days after a busy four-day Thanksgiving weekend when millions of Americans traveled across the country, so major disruptions probably aren’t expected. The choice for Tuesday is based on the creation of his protest four years ago when activists made their efforts for a $15 minimum wage known.
Protesters are hoping to raise the idea in this country that corporations such as McDonald’s and Uber, along with the government, should increase pay for these hardworking Americans.
Cities that will be impacted include Chicago, Oakland, San Francisco, Houston, Denver, Detroit, New Orleans, Miami, Tampa, San Diego, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Boston.
This isn’t the first time that Uber drivers have protested seeking better compensation, at least in San Francisco. In 2014 they rallied in front of the company’s headquarters seeking their fair share of fares, and there was talk about potentially unionizing. Uber has tried to lessen driver frustration by offering additional benefits, such as Pandora integrations in the driver app, specialized feedback from riders, launching an API so third-party developers can craft services just for drivers, and highlighting where nearby gas stations are.
Of course, we mustn’t forget that some of these drivers are also fighting to be reclassified from independent contractors to actual employees, an effort that Uber has been actively fighting. The company tried to settle in at least one case, but it was rejected by a U.S. judge.
Currently it’s believed that only Uber drivers are participating in this protest. We’ve reached out to the company for comment. Additionally, we’ve contacted Lyft to see if their drivers are following suit.
Updated as of 12:01 p.m. Pacific on Monday: Uber declined to comment.
Updated as of 2:45 p.m. Pacific: Corrected to state the protest will be on Tuesday, not Monday. Also included the complete list of cities where protests will take place.