Why organizing Uber and Lyft drivers is a big challenge

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Headquarters of ride-sharing technology company Uber in the South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood of San Francisco on October 13, 2017.

Enlarge / Headquarters of ride-sharing technology company Uber in the South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood of San Francisco on October 13, 2017. (credit: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Lyft and Uber drivers around the world are striking on Wednesday to protest low pay, arbitrary terminations, and other concerns. The protest comes just before Uber’s debut as a publicly traded stock on Friday.

The movement is decentralized, with drivers’ groups in different cities organizing strikes and protests. Drivers in some cities plan to disconnect for 24 hours, while in other cities drivers are striking for only a couple of hours. In New York, for example, drivers switched off their apps during the morning rush hour, from 7am to 9am.

There’s a list of driver demands on the website of Rideshare Drivers United, a Los Angeles-based drivers group. The drivers are seeking a 10-percent cap on Uber’s or Lyft’s share of each fare, an hourly minimum wage, and compensation for time spent traveling to pick up a passenger. They would also like to see a driver representative on the boards of Uber and Lyft, respectively.

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