Uber drivers will join legions of airport, fast food, childcare and part-time workers Tuesday in a national demonstration for better pay and workplace protections.
Drivers in more than a dozen cites plan to participate in a national day of protest organized by the labor movement Fight for $15, according to a spokeswoman for the group. In some cities like San Francisco, drivers planned to strike. D.C. was not among them, but the group said demonstrations were planned at Reagan National Airport, and drivers planned to join striking airport workers in cities across the country.
Uber drivers have long fought for higher wages and better workplace protections, challenging their status as “driver partners” rather than employees. In April, Uber agreed to pay $84 million to settle two major class-action lawsuits in which drivers challenged their status as independent contractors, saying the classification unfairly denied them benefits typically given to employees. Under the terms of the settlement, however, the drivers remain classified as contractors.
Uber drivers planned to demonstrate in more than a dozen cities, including Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago. In some places, reports said, passengers might have trouble hailing a ride. According to the tech news site VentureBeat:
Drivers plan to demonstrate their contempt for the current $7.25 minimum wage by having their cars sit idle in high-profile places. They’ll be non-responsive at San Francisco International Airport, walking alongside airport and fast-food workers with signs saying “Your Uber Driver is Striking.”
Fight for $15 demonstrations are planned to begin at noon Tuesday at 19 airports serving 2 million passengers per day: among them, Seattle, San Francisco, Newark, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Fort Lauderdale.
It was expected to be the largest demonstration yet by the labor group, coinciding with its fourth anniversary and coming on the heels of Donald Trump’s election as president. The group says it opposes policies that would block wage increases, deport immigrants and slash healthcare. Since Fight for 15 launched, wage increases have been won in at least nine cities.
Confirmed cities where drivers plan to demonstrate include:
Chicago, Houston, Denver, Detroit, New Orleans, Miami, San Diego, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Boston, Oakland, Calif., and Tampa, Fla.