In the latest actions, hundreds of drivers gathered in Austin, Texas for a Speak Out, demanding the City Council set aside for a driver Co-op all of the 405 permits the city is considering to issue; while hundreds demonstrated in Perth, Australia for an end to the share-the-scraps economy where companies like Uber and Lyft give jobs away to non-professional drivers operating private cars, undercutting taxi drivers’ full-time work.
Taxi drivers across the globe are holding strikes and demonstrations - shutting down highways and airports – to protect the right to full-time jobs! Not since leasing made us independent contractors and placed the burden of daily debt on our backs have we, a beleaguered, majority immigrant workforce, been under such vicious attack. Uber and Lyft lobby against insurance, security background checks, vehicle standards, and driver licensing requirements to de-professionalize our work and sell it in pieces. To be the fastest and cheapest, they clog the streets with vehicles, undercut driver earnings and look only for part-timers. 51% of Uber drivers have other jobs and earn $15,000/year in supplemental income from driving while full-time drivers are displaced. No worker wins.
The companies – rejecting taxi and limo regulatory frameworks – call themselves TNCs (Transportation Network Company), flood city halls and state capitals with lobbyists - 30 in cities with 10 council members – and declare war on a regulated industry which generates revenue through taxes and fees: In NYC, taxis bring in $100 million a year toward the MTA’s budget. Uber, meanwhile, vows to be cheaper than buses and faster than ambulances. And when states require higher insurance coverage, they pull out or, in the middle of counting their billions, simply direct people desperate for work to pick up illegally.
For consumers, they offer “God’s View” monitoring – spying on journalists and speculating one night stands, refuse security background checks of drivers, defy the Americans with Disabilities Act, and have an on-off switch for their non-commercial insurance in case of collision – bringing up private insurance rates for all motorists in the state. And of course, when all else fails, they price surge – gouge loyal customers when they can’t generate volume.
It’s not the App, it’s the economy. South Korea has a warrant out for Uber’s CEO. In 35% of the countries Uber claims to be in, they are in fact considered illegal. From state to state, country to country, drivers and allies are standing up for fairness & full-time work.