Bernie Sanders Supports Lyft And Uber Drivers On Strike

Written by Ann Brown
Bernie Sanders
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during a rally with young voters on the campus of the University of Colorado Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, in Boulder, Colo. Sanders is riding a bus around the state with Democratic candidates to drum up support for them before Election Day. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Recently when Uber and Lyft drivers went on a 25-hour strike in Los Angeles to protest low wages, they had a surprising supporter. Bernie Sanders tweeted he was behind them.

The 2020 Presidential candidate tweeted: “I stand with Uber and Lyft drivers striking in LA. One job should be enough to make a decent living in America, especially for those working for multibillion-dollar companies. Drivers must be paid the wages they deserve.”

Protests in L.A. drew both Uber and Lyft drivers and members of the L.A. organizing group Rideshare Drivers United. The strike was prompted by Uber’s recent move to reduce per-mile pay in Los Angeles County and parts of Orange County by 25 percent.

Rideshare Drivers United wants California to cap ride-share company commissions at 10 percent for each fare, according to ABC 7.

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The strike came at a time when both Uber and Lyft are preparing for an IPO. Lyft’s public offering expected to open at a $23 billion valuation.

“It is like a punch in the gut to us, the drivers who helped build this company, that Lyft stood in court suing to block higher wages at the same time as they moved toward an IPO at a $23 billion valuation,” said Lyft driver and Independent Drivers Guild member Tina Raveneau in a statement.

Hip-hop artists Nas and Chamillionaire invested in Lyft early on. At least one could benefit from the IPO.

L.A. ride-sharing drivers aren’t the only ones dissatisfied with pay. “After New York City successfully passed a ride-hail driver minimum wage of $17.22 per hour last year, more drivers across the country have been asking: Why not us?,” CityLab reported.

Ride-share drivers have been banding together online and creating organizing groups. Rideshare Drivers United was founded in Los Angeles in 2017 and now has 3,000 active members. In New York City, the Independent Drivers’ Guild has  70,000 ride-hail drivers.

Uber and Lyft aren’t only in hot water over payments to drivers. There have been discrimination claims. While there seems to be no official stat on how many of the drivers are Black, both companies have been accused of discriminating against Black riders. “Research finds that for African Americans, these trips are by no means discrimination-free. A Black man calling an Uber in Boston is three times as likely have his request canceled than a white man,” CityLab reported.

And last year, the head of Uber’s HR department resigned over racialdiscrimination within the company