Many Still Driving for Uber, Lyft in SoCal as Others Protest Over Pay Cuts

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As a group of ride-sharing drivers in Southern California stages a 25-hour strike over pay cuts recently implemented by Uber, many are still choosing to work Monday. Rideshare Drivers United-Los Angeles, which reports to have 2,800 members, is demanding the company take back its decision to slash wages by 25 percent and guarantee a $28-per-hour minimum rate. Uber the previous week cut drivers’ pay from 80 cents to 60 cents per mile in L.A. County and portions of Orange County, a move that reversed a 25 percent bump last September. The company said the incentive “did not have the intended impact,” the Los Angeles Times reported. Rideshare Drivers United members also planned to strike against Lyft, whose initial public offering is expected this week. Although the 25-hour protest started midnight, plenty of ride-hailing drivers were still dropping off passengers at LAX early Monday. “I did think about it, but also at the same time I have bills… I have to put food on the table, bottom-line,” Khaled Fhami told KTLA. Rallying to demand change has proved difficult among independent contractors. Rideshare Drivers United, however, isn’t focusing on unionizing, a move typical of employees aiming to effect change in the workplace. “This is about person-to-person organizing,” the group’s Nicole Moore told the L.A. Times. In addition to refusing to work for the two ride-hailing giants on Monday, hundreds of driver rallied outside Uber’s Greenlight Hub in Redondo Beach throughout the afternoon. Driver Kathy Shay was at the demonstration and painted it as a case of corporate greed exacerbating inequality. “It seems like they just keep trying to take, take, take,” she said. “Instead of taking a percentage of the $400 million the CEO gets, they’ve got to squeeze every little penny out of the driver.” Because Uber isn’t a public company — yet — it hasn’t disclosed exactly how much CEO Dara Khosrowshahi makes annually. But when he was hired to the job in August 2017, Bloomberg reported he may have come with a $200 million price tag. In a statement announcing the protest, Rideshare Drivers United highlighted financial challenges members face. “This is the only job I’ve ever had that the longer I do it the less I make,” Esterphainie Jeanne St. Juste said. “We put thousands of miles on our vehicles every month providing rides, and the companies aren’t there when your tires need replacing. We’re not trying to do this for free, but that’s what it’s starting to feel like.”

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