Hundreds of Uber drivers launch 3-day strike for better wages

Wayne Freedman Image
ByWayne Freedman KGO logo
Friday, October 16, 2015
Faction of Uber drivers launch 3-day strike for better wages
In San Francisco and across the nation Friday, Uber drivers went on strike, some of them anyway, and so far results so far are mixed.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It could be tougher to get around the Bay Area this weekend after several Uber drivers planned to strike.

In San Francisco and across the nation, Uber drivers went on strike, some of them anyway, and so far the results are mixed.

If organizers have their way, this action will send a strong message to Uber. But the Uber app, showed plenty of drivers are still on the road. It's a national strike, they say, but it has not been easy to enforce.

In theory this was to be the day that Uber drivers told Uber managers that they're mad and not going to take this anymore.

Uber driver Glen Miller said he thinks there should be more people striking.

If there was to be a ground zero for Uber's nationwide, weekend-long strike it would have been at the company's San Francisco headquarters.

"This is going to gain momentum and next time get better and better," said Abe Hussein, a former Uber driver.

As Uber sees it, there cannot be a strike when drivers are actually private contractors. The company estimates that 1,200 out of 20,000 in the Bay Area did not turn on their apps Friday.

"We always welcome feedback from our driver partners," said an Uber spokesman in a statement.

"Obviously they are not going to acknowledge a strike because their arrogance is beyond belief," said Abe Hussein, a former Uber driver.

Drivers want a tip option, plus higher minimum fares and cancellation rates. They say want a 60 percent rate hike from a company that keeps cutting those rates to attract new customers.

That, as San Francisco's embattled and Uber-bitter taxi cab drivers watched from the sideline. No one is winning, they conclude.

"Gypsy cabs, they're underinsured, they're rates are not transparent, they change by the minute. The drivers are not licensed," said Charles Rathbone of Luxor Cab.

Despite the strike, plenty of Uber drivers went to work Friday. Josh Stevens took an Uber car to the airport Friday afternoon.

"There was no problem," Stevens said. "I had no idea there was strike going on. No impact. There was a slight elevation in fare, that could have been the impact?" Stevens said.

As drivers protested outside Uber headquarters, San Francisco Muni drivers emerged from a union meeting. Among them president Eric Williams, who couldn't help but look on.

"They're trying. It's a try," he said.

Though not yet an effort that has tried Uber users.