Uber Drivers Protest Wage Cuts in New York and San Francisco

February 1, 2016, 9:26 PM UTC
The Uber logo is displayed on the window of a vehicle
The Uber Technologies Inc. logo is displayed on the window of a vehicle after dropping off a passenger at Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014. Uber Technologies Inc. investors are betting the five-year-old car-booking app is more valuable than Twitter Inc. and Hertz Global Holdings Inc. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Andrew Harrer — Bloomberg via Getty Images

On Monday, drivers in both New York and San Francisco staged protests over the company’s fare cuts.

Uber drivers in New York City gathered at Uber’s local office in Long Island City, Queens to protest the recent 15% fare cuts, which drivers say will prevent them from earning enough wages to make ends meet.

“Let’s shut down Uber for an entire day,” read a flier drivers were distributing to passengers, asking them not to use the app for 24 hours. The protest is organized by United Drivers Network, a group that has planned similar protests in the past, and some of its drivers also plan on registering to form a union. About 10,000 drivers were expected to shut off their app as part of the protest.

Uber claims that the price cuts, similarly to the cuts it made in other U.S. cities, are to boost a demand slump that happens after the holiday season.

“Since the price cut drivers have spent spent 39% less time between trips which has increased average hourly earnings by 20% compared to two weekends before. This is similar to what happened last time we cut prices,” an Uber spokesman told Fortune via email, adding that the company will reverse the price cuts if they don’t “work for drivers.”

In a blog post announcing the price cuts, Uber says that it has instituted variable wage guarantees for all hours of the day.


In San Francisco, drivers from an organization named Uber Drivers United planned a protest in front of Uber’s driver office, it’s headquarters, and in front of City Hall, according to a video posted on YouTube on Sunday. With San Francisco’s upcoming hosting of the Super Bowl 50, the group says Uber is planing to drop driver wages to “50 cents per mile.” The protest, it hopes, will send a message to Uber that its drivers find this to be too low and want higher wages, and overall better conditions.

However, Uber says it has no plans to make further price cuts in San Francisco ahead of the Super Bowl, and never planned to do so.

In October, Uber drivers staged a protest they hoped would reach across the nation, though only a small group showed up at Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco.

The story has been updated with additional comments from Uber regarding its plans to cut

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