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Uber Drivers Demand Higher Pay in Nationwide Protest (cnet.com) 306

Uber drivers will join forces with fast food, home care and airport workers in a nationwide protest on Tuesday. Their demand: higher pay. From a report on CNET: Calling it the "Day of Disruption," drivers for the ride-hailing company in two dozen cities, including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, will march at airports and in shopping areas carrying signs that read, "Your Uber Driver is Arriving Striking." The protest underscores the dilemma Uber faces as it balances the needs of its drivers with its business. Valued at $68 billion, Uber is the highest-valued venture-backed company worldwide. But as it has cut the cost of rides to compete with traditional taxi services, Uber reportedly has experienced trouble turning a profit. Unlike many other workers involved in Tuesday's protests, Uber drivers are not members of a union. In fact, Uber doesn't even classify its drivers as employees. Instead the company considers drivers independent contractors. This classification means the company isn't responsible for many costs, including health insurance, paid sick days, gas, car maintenance and much more. However, Uber still sets drivers' rates and the commission it pays itself, which ranges between 20 percent and 30 percent. "I'd like a fair day's pay for my hard work," Adam Shahim, a 40-year-old driver from Pittsburgh, California, said in a statement. "So I'm joining with the fast-food, airport, home care, child care and higher education workers who are leading the way and showing the country how to build an economy that works for everyone, not just the few at the top."
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Uber Drivers Demand Higher Pay in Nationwide Protest

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  • Union power! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by For a Free Internet ( 1594621 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @12:43PM (#53385647)

    Without our brain and muscle not a single wheel will turn!

    Forward to a workers government! Forge a revolutionary workers party!

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )

      Without our brain and muscle not a single wheel will turn!

      Really? Outside of government (public sector) union membership has dwindled to less than 7% [cnsnews.com] of the workforce. Even counting public sector it's less than 12%.

  • by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @12:44PM (#53385651)

    There are choices, y'know! And Lyft gives a higher priority to drivers, so if you all just delete that Uber Partner app and sign up on Lyft, you'll be a lot better off

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @01:02PM (#53385845)

      Uber and Air B&B really had turned into something different than their initial business.
      These were for people who wanted to do some Parttime work. Rent out their home when they are away. Drive additional people when commuting to work. The the Recession hit, and this became more of a source of income, vs just getting extra spending changes. It didn't help with these companies changing their buisness structure to compete against Hotels and Taxis.

      • Taking it a step further, Uber, Lyft, AirBnB, heck even eBay are just hookup services. Their end form is going to be a stock market-like exchange. People place bids and offers on the market. The line (price) where the bids meet the offers is the fair market price.

        e.g. You bid to pay $12 for a ride from your house in the north suburbs to a restaurant downtown. Historically pricing for this route has been about $12, so you figure that should get you an offer soon.. But unbeknownst to you, a ballgame i
        • So I need to show my ID whenever I want to use a taxi/Uber? No thanks.
        • AirBnB is just shout term renting / hotels without the taxes / safety rules they just take a cut / fees with limited control.

          eBay just takes fees / a cut with limited control.
          They have listings like an Flea Market / on line store front. They also have auctions where they just run the auction part and take fees for doing that.

          Uber, Lyft Set a lot of rules, set the prices, can enforce you must take X number / % of rides per X time on the clock, can force long / shout trips.

          On ebay an seller can say local pi

      • Uber and Air B&B really had turned into something different than their initial business.
        These were for people who wanted to do some Parttime work. Rent out their home when they are away. Drive additional people when commuting to work. The the Recession hit, and this became more of a source of income, vs just getting extra spending changes.

        Airbnb was founded the same year as the Great Recession, Uber the following year. Though they both paint themselves as "part time supplements", they've been about ad

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @12:47PM (#53385701)

    become a taxi driver. Uber is for ride-sharing. Not full-time taxi service.

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @01:38PM (#53386311)

      become a taxi driver.

      Exactly. I don't see what is stopping these drivers from just buying a $500,000 taxi medallion.

      • I don't know about the other city's listed but Illinois doesn't have that requirement it's the city of Chicago that has it's own outrageously expensive regulations on top of the states minimum requirements.

        • by e r ( 2847683 )
          It really is true that the local government affects your life the most but gets the least attention.

          All eyes are on Trump, every news station waits with baited breath for goose stepping storm troopers to start rounding up the poor little illegals, every safe space is filled with sobbing snowflakes who can't stand the thought of not getting their way, hippies are out in force destroying property trying to stop pipelines that they otherwise would never have known existed, the blogosphere is on fire about no
      • become a taxi driver.

        Exactly. I don't see what is stopping these drivers from just buying a $500,000 taxi medallion.

        Actually, it was often easier for a driver to get $500,000 medallion than $100 TV on credit. As long as the number o f medallions was limited so no new ones were issued, lending against them was a no brainer. Drivers would make payments to avoid losing it since you could repossess it by simply prying it off the car; as an appreciating asset it was worth more than when you first sold it. It is the driver's best interest not to get behind since if he or she did they lost all the appreciation and the ability

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Except services like Uber have crashed the value of taxi medallions. A NYC taxi medallion used for to go over a $1 million a few years ago. Now you can pick one up for $300,000. It's only going to keep going down, nobody is going to back a loan to buy one.

    • Is ride sharing? They recruit drivers using the same hiring techniques businesses use to find employees. They control what the drivers can charge and they punish drivers for declining low paying work. The drivers aren't sharing, they're working.
  • Being contractors, they should just charge uber more for their services.
    • by bfpierce ( 4312717 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @12:51PM (#53385741)

      If they could do that they wouldn't be out protesting, now would they.

      • They can it's called find another client. Uber with no drivers dies.

        • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @01:06PM (#53385899) Journal

          Uber is already moving to driverless cars, and that was always the plan. Not only is that the plan, the long term prognosis for Taxi and Uber like drivers is dim. Eventually, driverless cars will be the norm and we'll see drivers go the way of the buggy whip.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward
            When Uber implements driver-less cars (which they do want to do) how are they going to continue to claim that they are not a transportation company and instead are just an app to connect drivers and riders? Are they going to have third party driver-less car owners and have them provide the "ride"? It seems it will be harder for them to lie to government regulators about what their business model is at that point...
          • we'll see drivers go the way of the buggy whip - what? only used in kinky dungeon scenes?

            "Bring out the Gimp"

            "Say, didn't you drive me to the LAX a couple of years ago?"

            [shutters]
          • I didn't think the CD would ever become popular because of how poorly they were designed and prone to failure, they became popular anyway and people bitched about scratched discs purchasing the white album multiple times. If a driverless car hits the market in the next few years it's going to be the same, poorly designed and prone to failure which in this case holds some serious real world problems.

          • by e r ( 2847683 )

            Uber is already moving to driverless cars, and that was always the plan. Not only is that the plan, the long term prognosis for Taxi and Uber like drivers is dim. Eventually, driverless cars will be the norm and we'll see drivers go the way of the buggy whip.

            Who was seriously expecting Uber or Lyft to be their life's career?

  • by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @12:59PM (#53385815) Homepage Journal

    So... this means all-day surge pricing for the Uber drivers who don't strike?

  • by myth24601 ( 893486 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @01:05PM (#53385891)

    This isn't complicated. If you don't like the pay, don't work for them.

    • by lactose99 ( 71132 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @01:17PM (#53386027)

      If you don't like the system, then work to change it, which is what they're doing.

      • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

        It's not a sustainable profession though; taxi drivers traditionally were career jobs for many in past decades. My friend's wife's dad is a taxi driver (in south america) and owns his own house, has raised a family of three and lives comfortably and is near retirement.

        Now we're on the cusp of replacing taxi drivers with robots. While there are some that lean on Uber as a full time job, it's never been sold as a full time job, and second, it's been in the news for years now that the plan is to replac

        • by e r ( 2847683 )

          It's not a sustainable profession though; taxi drivers traditionally were career jobs for many in past decades.

          "Slave owner" used to be a sustainable profession and now it's not.
          "Cooper" used to be a sustainable profession and now most folks haven't even seen an actual wooden barrel.
          And the same for "fletcher", "skinner", "tanner", "pyramid builder", "okra picker", "computer" (yes, by hand), "telegraph operator" etc.
          Most of these are still being done, but in a different way. You can still get your okra picked-- but it's no longer a share cropper that does it. You can still buy arrows, but it's not a guy in a hut

    • by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @01:21PM (#53386081)

      If you don't like the pay, don't work for them.

      Isn't that what a strike is?

      • Yes, but it usually hurts the business to get attention. If you can be replaced by anyone with a car and smartphone...
    • Yes because people should starve and live on the street rather than work for less than they want in a job they don't like.
  • by NineNine ( 235196 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @01:08PM (#53385919)

    How can Uber have trouble turning a profit? What expenses do they have? Are they literally wiping their asses with money, or something? I can't imagine how maintaining a few little apps would cost billions of dollars a year.

    • Just what I was thinking. Why in the hell should they get a 20-30% cut of a fare for putting a customer and contractor together when that is all handled by an app?

      They have hosting, dev, and support costs, and presumably some advertising or something... but really, now that Uber is a thing it could be run by a handful of people regardless of scale.

      Unless they're going to get serious about driver background checks, vehicle safety checks, bad client tracking, etc... like regular taxis (are supposed to) do, t

      • Sounds like you should start your own Uber competitor! When do you start?
    • How can Uber have trouble turning a profit? What expenses do they have? Are they literally wiping their asses with money, or something? I can't imagine how maintaining a few little apps would cost billions of dollars a year.

      Here is my thought to answer this question... They reinvest into their business by expanding as much as they can for now. If they can dominate the market all over the world, then they will be able to make a lot of money. I would say it is a smart move in this kind of global business (even though I don't like them).

      Currently, it is their preparation time in attempt to expand to every single acre in the world. To do so, they need a lot of money to start up the business in new locations. Thus, they can't turn

    • $1 million driver insurance? Granted, it's lower cost: Uber's driver insurance kicks in after any existing liability insurance, and pays the difference; that shields the insurer from a significant cost share, even accounting for many insurers not paying for liability in a claim under Uber driving (most insurers actually will, although they've given statements that this might not exactly fit into your policy).

      Legal fees, development, security audits (PCI-DSS, SAS70, SOX), and the like all add up. A lot o

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      How can Uber have trouble turning a profit? What expenses do they have?

      Lobbyists don't come cheap.

    • Creative accounting. That and massive legal fees.
  • So, just... don't? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scotts13 ( 1371443 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @01:09PM (#53385927)

    These ride sharing services were set up to allow people to casually earn a little extra money. They do this by bypassing the cruft that's accumulated around traditional taxi services. So immediately, government, workers, and to some extent even the public wants to re-load all the baggage - destroying what ride-sharing was intended to be. It's not the 30's, in a company town - if they don't like the wages, there are other agencies and other industries.

    Next, everyone strikes to have an above-average income.

    • Next, everyone strikes to have an above-average income.

      If you do that, then the politician who figures out how to re-define 'average' will win. We can all be above average! And we don't think.

  • I find the argument that Uber drivers should be considered employees because "Uber still sets drivers' rates and the commission it pays itself, which ranges between 20 percent and 30 percent" to be specious.

    If someone says how much they are going to pay for a job in advance of the job, that does not mean that anyone who takes that job is suddenly more likely to be considered an employee simply because the person who will pay them set that amount. Presumably, an independent contractor who finds the amoun

  • " "I'd like a fair day's pay for my hard work," Adam Shahim, a 40-year-old driver from Pittsburgh, California, said in a statement."

    Then get a real job for a real company rather than an Internet-Ride-Share-gone-corporate hobby (you aren't an Uber "employee", there's part of your problem right there).

  • by Archfeld ( 6757 ) <treboreel@live.com> on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @01:19PM (#53386065) Journal

    I'd just call a taxi but I can't do that anymore, because Uber without all the same regulations applied to them drove all my local cab options out of business. Now I'm back to a market with only one option who is on the brink of holding the customer hostage for greater pay. Isn't it nice how no matter what happens the end user suffers...

    • No Lyft in your area?
    • There are always scabs aka strikebreakers, and thankfully they will be really easy to find with the Uber app with no actual change in behavior from the customer.

      The price may go up due to low supply and same as normal demand, but I'd be surprised if service is unavailable.

      Also, it's "Day of Disruption" so if you can make it through one day without a cab, you will be fine.

  • Pittsburgh is in Pennsylvania. There are plenty of Pittsburgs all over the country, but hands off our "h", California.
  • Here's a few:

    . Arcade.city [ https://arcade.city/ [arcade.city] ] - started by p1553d off Uber drivers
    . Cell 411 [ https://getcell411.com/ [getcell411.com] ] - includes ride-share feature
    . ReachNow [ http://www.bmwcarsharing.com/ [bmwcarsharing.com] ] - pay-per-minute car rental

  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @02:50PM (#53386925)

    "Valued at $68 billion, Uber is the highest-valued venture-backed company worldwide. But as it has cut the cost of rides to compete with traditional taxi services, Uber reportedly has experienced trouble turning a profit..."

    Funny thing about profit; it's kind of necessary for success and survival.

    Given that identified struggle, I would say this is a $68 billion bullshit valuation.

  • In a system in which the knowledge of the relevant facts is dispersed among many people, prices act to efficiently coordinate the separate actions of different people.

    Prices are important information in the economic calculus.

    If a government sets price floors or ceilings, it damages the price system, and leads to shortages or gluts.

    If you think poor people need money, then redistribute money to them via taxes. But don't break the price system, because when you do, you reduce the size of the entire economy t

  • by jdavidb ( 449077 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @03:31PM (#53387265) Homepage Journal

    joining with the fast-food, airport, home care, child care and higher education workers who are leading the way and showing the country how to build an economy

    Because everybody knows that Uber drivers, fast-food, airport, home care, child care, and higher education workers are the best experts to look to for economic knowledge.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling

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