Uber, Lyft drivers strike for better pay, working conditions

Uber and Lyft drivers are striking nationwide. Yahoo Finance’s Akiko Fujita and Zack Guzman discuss.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, Uber and Lyft drivers wrapping up a 24-hour nationwide strike, demanding better pay, better working conditions, and better benefits. And Zack, we saw this one start Tuesday. It was 24 hours, wrapped up yesterday. But this is part of a larger debate that we've been hearing about improved conditions for the gig economy.

It is an interesting time to be seeing this kind of rally right now, though, given that it feels like those drivers, those workers who are working, for example, for delivery services, to-- they're, in some ways, in a stronger position to call for some of these changes because we've heard these companies say that they are really struggling to recruit new drivers at a platform. They're experiencing a lot of shortages. And that's driving prices up. We've noticed. Any of us have used those apps, we have seen those price increases.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, I mean, I'm no strike expert here, Akiko, but I was kind of a little-- I was scratching my head a little bit over the idea of calling both drivers and riders to boycott the apps at the same time. I wondered if you really truly wanted to create chaos on these apps, if you would have just called for one side to boycott, then you'd have a situation on your hands. You know, if you didn't have a lot of drivers, but riders were still requesting rides, I would imagine that that would maybe drive the point home a bit more.

But I mean, we talked about this before in the way in California's Prop 22 battle what could happen here if that did pass in the way that these workers would be kind of on their back foot and trying to battle for rights around this. And, you know, you and I discussed that back then. It didn't seem like it was going to help if these rideshare giants did win in that battle, since they were going to get everything they wanted.

But, you know, there's issues there here in the US. Then you look across globally in China. We talked about Didi as well. They're facing their own issues here now when it comes to regulators over there for a little bit of a different reason here. But we are seeing Didi shares down quite a bit today, the slide post that IPO continues. So just in general, Akiko, I feel like ridesharing, they hyped a lot of this up for investors and really, whether it's the US names or now the Chinese name not living up to the hype.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, and Zack, well, Didi right now is under scrutiny for their data collection and other issues. They did get called in earlier this year from regulators over in China about the treatment of their drivers, too. So it does feel like there is a global conversation that's happening.

What's interesting to me about this is that while we're talking about the gig economy as it relates to Uber and Lyft and Doordash, for example, there seems to be a bit of a-- I don't know if we want to call it an uprising, but a lot of workers increasingly feel like they have leverage to come to the table and say, I want these five things. Let's say if you want to keep me, this is where things need to move.

And so to me, it is interesting. I mean, I think you bring up a good point. You know, if you keep the demand the same for riders, that does seem to point to just how important the drivers are. So, you know, 24-hour strike, I mean, whether how effective that was or not, I mean, this is a conversation that feels like it's going to continue, especially now, when so many companies are dealing with labor shortages.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, but I think you're right. I think there is a sense that they do have the leverage right now to push for that, given the way that we've seen kind of a slower uptick in drivers, a lot of people off the platform in the pandemic and just haven't come back. But we'll see what happens in that battle.

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