With high gas prices crippling their livelihoods, hundreds of app workers take to the streets in caravan to confront Uber execs
Justice for App Workers coalition launches campaign to demand companies cap commissions and pay workers their “fare share”
NEW YORK, NY – With signs reading “Pay your ‘fare share’!” and “Gas costs are killing us,” hundreds of app workers surrounded Uber’s Manhattan Headquarters Tuesday following a caravan of rideshare and delivery drivers that started in Brooklyn. The workers, who are part of the 100,000-member coalition movement Justice for App Workers, demanded that app companies pay fair wages, rather than pushing rising costs onto customers and workers while taking massive commissions.
“We rode all the way across the city today, at a time when drivers are struggling to make ends meet, because this is a crisis,” said Raul Rivera, leader of Justice for App Workers coalition member NYC Drivers Unite and a long-time driver. “Costs keep going up, and the companies take more and more for their own profits. No more poverty wages!”
Outside the company offices, drivers who took part in the caravan told their stories of falling behind on bills or cutting their families’ food budgets, and demanded immediate action from the tech giants. Across the country, app drivers who are already underpaid are struggling to keep up with growing expenses and rising gas prices. And despite New York City drivers facing staggering prices at the pump, app companies like Uber and Lyft have left New York City out of their fuel surcharges programs.
As part of bringing their fight for a living wage to Uber’s doorstep, the Justice for App Workers coalition launched an online petition demanding a cap on commissions, calling for all app companies not to take more than 10% of each ride or delivery. Rideshare drivers currently report losing up to 50% of a ride to the app companies, and delivery workers lack basic transparency into what customers pay overall.
“It’s so demoralizing to see 30, 40, even 50 percent of what a customer pays for a ride go right to the app company. It’s time for the era of companies under-paying workers and overcharging customers to end! We’re here to demand what we deserve – more of our hard-earned money in our own pockets,” said Naomi Ogutu, President of the grassroots group NYC Rideshare Club, one of the nine organizations in the Justice For App Workers coalition.
The Justice for App Workers coalition currently consists of NYC Rideshare Club, United Delivery Workers Association, International Alliance of Delivery Workers, the Independent Drivers Guild, Long Island Uber & Lyft Network, Black Car Mafia, UzBER, Utany, and NYC Drivers Unite, and is rapidly organizing. In addition to a living wage, the coalition is also advocating for a safe working environment, an end to unfair account deactivation, quality healthcare benefits, reliable, safe bathroom access, and the right to form a union.
For more than two years, drivers and delivery workers have supported New Yorkers through the COVID-19 pandemic, braving the streets to keep communities running, and performing essential services for many, including vulnerable and immunocompromised customers reliant on food, medicine, and grocery deliveries. Now, for the first time, a broad cross-section of separate app worker organizing groups are coming together as a worker-led coalition to demand the rights, benefits, and workplace safety standards that app workers are denied.
Rideshare drivers and delivery workers are among the least protected workforces in the country, carved out of regulations that cover other workers that would allow them to negotiate over their wages, benefits, and working conditions. According to recent polling of drivers and delivery workers in the tristate area, 77% of app worker respondents said they struggle to make monthly payments like rent, utilities, car payments, and other bills; 82% would fall behind on bills within three months if they couldn’t drive or deliver.
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Justice for App Workers is a coalition movement representing 100,000 New York rideshare drivers and delivery workers, united in their demands to transform their industry. This means living wages, a safe working environment, an end to unfair deactivation, quality healthcare benefits, reliable bathroom access, and the right to form a union. Together, drivers and delivery workers are taking on the multi-billion dollar app industry to win dignity at work. Learn more and join the movement at JusticeForAppWorkers.org.