Uber Drivers Seeking "Better Treatment" and Better Pay Plan Weekend Strike

by Sean Riley

NBC4 and Inverse

You may have to find a different way to get around the District this weekend -- some Uber drivers are planning to strike.

Organizers are urging Uber drivers to stay off the streets from Friday and through Sunday in cities throughout the United States.

"Drivers: Do not turn your app on for this whole weekend!" urges a message on the Uber Freedom Facebook page. "Stand together as one voice!"

Drivers had planned a demonstration at a local Uber office at the corner of 21st and M streets NW at 11:30 a.m. Friday, said planner Yonas Mekonnon on Facebook. He said some drivers have already begun the strike.

Uber, which calls itself a ride-sharing service, allows individuals register as drivers and then pay commission to the company when users seek rides via Uber's app. But some drivers are saying they deserve more money.

The drivers say they're demanding four things:

  • A 60-percent rate increase for UberX (lower-cost) rides.
  • A $7 minimum fare.
  • A $7 cancellation fee.
  • An option for users to be able to leave a tip on the app. 

An online petition seeking "better treatment for Uber drivers" had collected more than 1,700 signatures by Friday morning.

"Uber has been treating their drivers worse and worse as time goes by," the petition says. "Enough is enough. Just because they label drivers as independent contractors, doesn't mean they can take advantage of them and completely ignore labor laws."

Someone who identified herself as an Uber driver, Crystal C., posted on the petition, "I would like to see a tip option added to the app. My very first rider asked me if he gives me a tip and I had to tell him no. I could've made more $ on my very 1st trip instead of only $5.94 after Uber took their cut."

While Uber has not commented yet on this specific strike, an Uber spokesperson shared the following statement: "We always welcome feedback from driver-partners. Each week, tens of thousands of drivers across the U.S. begin using the Uber app to make money wherever and whenever they'd like."

Uber's statement continued, "Drivers say they value the flexibility and the chance to be their own boss, and choose Uber over other options because it fits around their life and works for them."