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Support Workers’ Rights, Boycott Uber and Lyft Wednesday

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San Francisco Uber and Lyft drivers aren’t trying to pick you up today. Instead, as Uber is set to make billions on the public stock exchange, drivers are striking in the name of things like livable wages and minimal benefits.

San Francisco rideshare drivers are joining others from cities across the country in refusing to turn on their apps and accept ride requests Wednesday. Uber plans to throw their IPO out to the New York Stock Exchange Friday, to an anticipated valuation of about $80 billion dollars. Drivers seem to think some of the money has been siphoned off the backs of hardworking employees who will see little benefit to the profit boom.

Uber strike in New York City, 2016. Photo courtesy of Getty Images

The number of hours drivers will strike vary across different cities – some making a symbolic nod with a two-hour commute strike, others shutting it down for 12 hours Wednesday. But all are after the same thing: basic labor rights. Drivers for both rideshare giants tend to work very long hours but are not given full-time employment status. The work itself demands long hours to make up for the shoddy pay they receive for hauling around our pretentious corporate bees by day and drunken, obnoxious asses by night.

Think what you will of the rideshare phenom in general, but the drivers are just doing their best to get by in a hustle economy, and they put up with a lot of our shit while they do it.

They want job security, more regulated fares and a livable wage and as Uber embarks into a financial IPO windfall, they have the audacity to feel they deserve those demands be met. Go figure.

Lyft is no better to their driving workforce, which is why despite the fact that it’s Uber set to go public, Lyft drivers are striking as well.

There will still be some drivers willing to pick you up, because, let’s face it, not everyone can go a day without pay. However, people are being asked to join in the strike in solidarity by not requesting rides throughout Wednesday, opting for cabs, buses or your good old fashioned two feet to get you around. It is just one day – you can do it.

FYI, nobody likes a picket crosser.

NBC News reports the strike in New York has reduced the rideshare workforce to less than 1 percent of typically available drivers. The numbers are not readily available for other cities, but if over 100,000 needy, underpaid and desperate workers can call in on strike in just New York today, you can manage to suck it up and take a bus.

We skewer these companies regularly based on their corporate greed, managerial practices, shady alliances, traffic congestion and their Walmart-like hit to employment norms, but let’s not forget that the drivers themselves are just people out there trying to get by. These are our neighbors, teachers, artists, students, single moms – people just like us trying to pay the rent and put food on the table in such a “booming” economy that has left the majority of people in a stagnant wage cesspool.

You can take it a step further and make sure you tip your drivers well once the strike is lifted, because as one man’s strike sign reads:

“Hey Uber, stars don’t feed families.”

Let’s stand by our fellow peeps, our hustling comrades, and stand up for labor rights. Try not to be a scab.

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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.