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Uber Drivers Strike In New York After Judge Halted Wage Increase

A judge put a hold on a wage increase measure that drivers say is necessary to survive in the nation's most expensive city.
Posted at 8:45 PM, Dec 19, 2022

It's a cold day in New York, but Uber drivers are hot — mad at their employer. 

Drivers protested outside Uber's headquarters in New York Monday afternoon as part of a daylong strike pushing for the company to drop its suit that is halting a wage increase, which was supposed to go into effect Monday.

"The people who drive the cars, the people who make this whole industry work — Uber has no respect for them. This is just corporate greed," said Biju Mathew, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance.

The city approved raise and fare hikes proposed by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. A judge put a temporary hold on the measure after Uber says the hikes would cost between $21 million and $23 million each month and could increase rider fares by 10%.

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Uber said gas prices have fallen since the proposed wage hike and told Newsy, "Drivers do critical work and deserve to be paid fairly, but rates should be calculated in a way that is transparent, consistent and predictable."

Ibrahima Gory has been driving since the early 1990s, first a yellow taxi and then Uber in 2014. He switched thinking the job would give him more flexibility, but he says Uber advertised itself to be a better company than it has been. 

"Shame on them," Gory said. "It's a shame because without drivers there will be no Uber."

Gory sometimes works at least 10 hours a day, and more at the end of the month, to make ends meet in the nation's most expensive city.

He's just one of the hundreds of drivers also taking to social media and asking riders all over New York to turn off their app Monday in a sign of solidarity. Some drivers told Newsy they are reconsidering their relationship with Uber and are looking into working for other companies. Lyft has not joined in on the lawsuit.

Councilman Sheker Krishnan, who represents the largest concentration of drivers in New York City, says the fact that Uber went out of its way to file the suit is the worst part.

"That is one of the most offensive things I've seen for a billion-dollar corporation that depends on the very labor of its drivers," said Krishnan. "To take the affirmative step of going to court to block pay increases and claim that they can afford to pay them tells you everything you need to know about the interests of this company and who they place over their own very workers."

This suit will continue into the new year.