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Uber, Lyft drivers in NYC to strike for 2 hours over working conditions

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance drivers are calling for livable incomes, fare regulation and an end to "unfair" deactivations.

Uber and Lyft drivers with the New York

Uber and Lyft drivers with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance will strike for two hours on Wednesday as they demand better working conditions. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Scott Olson

About 10,000 drivers for Uber, Lyft and other app-based companies operating in the city are planning to strike for two hours next week.

Drivers with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance voted Friday to log off their ride-hailing services from 7 to 9 a.m. on Wednesday in a show of solidarity with drivers organizing similar protests in such cities as Los Angeles, Philadelphia and London. A rally outside Uber and Lyft's headquarters in Long Island City also is planned for 1 p.m., per the NYTWA.

The union is calling for livable incomes, fare regulation and an end to "unfair" deactivations that it says has left drivers in fear of losing their livelihoods.

"I'm striking for my kid's future. I have a 5-year-old son, and I drive for Uber to support him. But it's becoming harder and harder," said Sonam Lama, an NYTWA member and Uber driver since 2015. "Uber executives are getting rich off of our work, they should treat us with respect. We are striking to send a message that drivers will keep rising up."

Requests for comment from Uber and Lyft were not immediately returned Friday.

The strike and rally are timed to take place on the eve of Uber's initial public offering, according to the union. Bhairavi Desai, NYTWA's executive director, said drivers are concerned about how investors' influence will affect their livelihoods.

"Uber and Lyft wrote in their S1 filings that they think they pay drivers too much already. With the IPO, Uber's corporate owners are set to make billions, all while drivers are left in poverty and go bankrupt," Desai said. "That's why NYTWA members are joining the international strike to stand up to Uber greed."

Earlier this week, Lyft and Juno lost a petition seeking to stop a new city rule that mandates a $17.22-an-hour minimum wage for drivers regardless of the trip fares they collect. While they aren't against a minimum wage, the companies argued that the formula used by the city to determine the pay rates gave Uber, which has the largest market share, an unfair advantage.

State Supreme Court Judge Andrea Masley, however, dismissed those claims and sided with the city.

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