Uber, Lyft drivers call day of action, demand better pay, working conditions

Tim Jimenez
May 08, 2019 - 6:46 am

UPDATE: 1:48 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Unions representing Uber and Lyft drivers are calling a national day of action on Wednesday, pushing for many of those drivers to stay off the road, and encouraging riders to do the same.

Philadelphia drivers gathered to protest at the Uber hub near the airport. Among the issues the drivers are tyrying to drive home are better pay, better conditions and better treatment from the two major ride-hailing companies.

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Uber and Lyft drivers like Ashley Smith say they used to make more money driving fewer hours.

"We need more eight-hour days, and we're asking for an 80/20 split and transparency," Smith said. "That means the drivers make 80 percent and Uber makes 20 percent. We need to know how much they're taking from passengers, and passengers need to know how much they're giving to us."

Another protester, Gregory Lioi, says while Uber insists teh drivers are independent contractors, not employees, the company sure treats them like inferior employees.

"I think a lot of corporations have become more blatant about how they mistreat the front line, and we are the front line. We're the drivers," he said.

Drivers across the country are taking similar actions before Uber's IPO, its initial public offering, later this week. They're looking to cap commissions taken by Uber and Lyft, better pay, and fare breakdowns on passenger receipts that show the company's take.

In San Diego and L.A., drivers are set to stop working for 24 hours. In Atlanta, it’s 12 hours. In several other cities, drivers are expected to sit out a few hours.

KYW Newsradio's Steve Tawa contributed to this report.