NYC Uber drivers strike again for better wages

Story at a glance

  • New York City Uber drivers are striking for a second time after the company blocked a pay raise last year.

  • Last November, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a pay raise for ride-hail drivers.

  • Uber filed a lawsuit in December blocking the raise arguing it was “dramatic” and would force the company to spend millions extra.

Uber drivers in New York City are taking part in a second 24-hour strike Thursday after the rideshare company blocked a pay raise last month.

Drivers began striking at 12:01 am Thursday morning and will continue until 11:59 p.m., according to the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA), a union representing about 21,000 Lyft, Uber, and Taxi drivers across the five boroughs.

Along with the strike, the NYTWA has created an online petition in support of drivers’ pay raise which has garnered over 1,600 signatures.

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As part of their first strike in December, drivers blocked rush-hour traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge by forming a caravan.

In November, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (NYC TLC) voted to increase the pay of all ride-hail drivers by roughly 7 percent more per minute and 24 percent per mile.

Inflation in the United States reached a nearly 40-year high last June when consumer prices rose to 9.1 percent higher compared to the same month in 2020.

The NYC TLC pushed and approved the pay raise for drivers to help address the challenges of higher food, housing and gas prices stemming from inflation.

Uber took issue with the move and blocked the raise in a Manhattan Supreme Court the following month arguing the pay hike calling it “dramatic, unprecedented and unsupported.”

In the lawsuit, Uber argued that the pay increase would require the company to spend up to an additional $23 million a month and increase the cost of rides by 10 percent in the city.

The Thursday strike is happening a day before a New York judge is scheduled to determine if the pay block will continue or be lifted, according to the NYTWA.

“The city’s for hire drivers have every right to protest Uber’s attempt t deny them the inflation and cost of living pay adjustment that they are rightfully due,” said NYC TLC Commissioner David Do in a statement. “TLC is actively protesting this too, in court.”

An Uber spokesperson told The Hill that despite the call for a strike, drivers are still using the app.

During the Thursday morning rush, 1.4 percent more drivers were online than in the same time period over the last two days, according to the spokesperson.

Rider requests remained “flat” Thursday as well compared to the same time period the last two days as well, they added.

“Every time the taxi association calls for a strike, drivers demonstrate they’re more interested in delivering for New Yorkers than social media discourse,” the spokesperson said. “Today has been no different.”

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