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Check your Valentine's Day plans: Uber, Lyft drivers plan wide strike

Thousands of rideshare drivers on Uber, Lyft and DoorDash will strike on Valentine's Day for better pay and working conditions.
Check your Valentine's Day plans: Uber, Lyft drivers plan wide strike
Posted at 6:21 PM, Feb 12, 2024

Whether you're heading off on a getaway or having a cozy dinner date at home this Valentine's Day, you might have to think twice about how you or your food will travel from point A to point B.

That's because thousands of rideshare and food delivery drivers across the U.S. are expected to walk off the job Wednesday, affecting Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and other driver-driven apps in about 20 cities.

Multiple drivers' groups say the independent contractors are striking to push for fairer pay and safety standards. 

One independent union, Rideshare Drivers United, said drivers would be "turning off their apps" for the day to picket in a demonstration to "companies, passengers and lawmakers that something needs to change!" 

Another coalition representing more than 130,000 drivers, Justice for App Workers, said its drivers wouldn't be taking rides to or from 10 cities' airports on the holiday. Instead, drivers are planning midday rallies near those airports, located in Austin, Chicago, Hartford, Miami, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Rhode Island and Tampa.

"Uber, Lyft and delivery drivers are TIRED of being mistreated by the app companies," Justice for App Workers said. "We're sick of working 80 hours/week just to make ends meet, being constantly scared for our safety and worrying about being deactivated with the click of a button."

Pay transparency surrounding rideshare drivers has long been murky, with the workers themselves often reporting much lower numbers than the companies.

While multiple reports have shown some Uber and Lyft drivers make less than minimum wage, Uber said months ago its typical driver made about $33 an hour not counting expenses, and Lyft said recently its typical driver makes about $31 an hour. 

In a first in the ride-sharing industry, Lyft last week promised its drivers weekly earnings and at least 70% of what customers pay — an effort to beat long-standing accusations that it takes a disproportionate amount of commissions while trying to get more drivers on its platform.

SEE MORE: Uber, Lyft to pay $328M settlement to drivers for 'taking earnings'

Those claims led Lyft and Uber to pay a combined $328 million to settle the New York attorney general's multi-year investigation into whether the companies systematically cheated drivers out of pay and benefits.

And although there have been many claims in the past, this is the first time drivers have gone on strike since Uber and Lyft went public in 2019. Still, the companies don't appear to be worried about the impact the demonstration will have on Valentine's Day prices and availability, or in its drivers' confidence. 

An Uber spokesperson told The Hill that the app had an increase in trips during another strike last year on the holiday and said driver earnings are "strong." And a Lyft spokesperson told the publication it's "constantly working to improve the driver experience," pointing to its new pay model. DoorDash hasn't commented on the strike.

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