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Philly Drivers’ Union plans rally in solidarity with countrywide Uber protests

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Uber and Lyft drivers will participate

Via Spencer Pratt/Getty Images

As rideshare drivers in major cities gear up to demand better working conditions in a countrywide protest tomorrow, two local drivers’ unions have announced they’re joining the efforts with a rally in Southwest Philly.

The rally, which is being held at the Uber Greenlight Hub tomorrow afternoon is organized by the Philadelphia Drivers’ Union (PDU) and the Philadelphia Limousine Association (PLA), who represent drivers for Uber, Lyft, and other similar rideshare services. The groups released a joint statement announcing the rally Monday.

They’ll be joining drivers around the country, who are organizing Wednesday in protest for better wages and fairer working conditions from Uber. The protests are planned two days ahead of the tech company’s first day trading on the New York Stock Exchange, which some worry, may result in wage cuts for drivers.

Demonstrations will look different across the country: some drivers are turning off their Uber apps for anywhere from two to 24 hours, and others are protesting and marching.

Initial reports last week said drivers in Philly and other major cities will all be striking Wednesday. However, the statement said that the PDU and PLA aren’t asking anyone to turn off the Uber app or to go on strike, Angela Vogel of the PDU clarified Monday. She added that many drivers cannot afford to miss a day of work, and the union wouldn’t ask them to do so. Still, Uber drivers in Philly may choose to boycott the app tomorrow independent of any union action, Vogel said.

In their statement, the PDU and PLA also included a list of demands from legislators and regulators, calling for:

  • An 80/20 fare split of gross passenger receipts
  • A minimum living wage of $20 per hour after expenses
  • Protection and more transparency when Uber or Lyft deactivates a driver (which they can do at any time for any reason)
  • A public education campaign for riders, so they know how to use the app, choose a safe pickup spot, and verify drivers.

The groups wrote that they’re also asking Philadelphians to vote no on ballot question #4 in the May 21 election. The question asks whether the city should create a new class of law enforcement called public safety officers, who would regulate traffic and enforce code provisions.

“Drivers are asking Philadelphia voters to vote no on Ballot Question 4, that would add additional officers ticketing drivers, and demand that the city force Uber to fund safe pickup and drop off solutions for high traffic areas,” the statement said.

Wednesday’s rally is being held from noon to 1 p.m. at the Uber Greenlight Hub at 7821 Bartram Avenue.