A strike by Uber drivers in the Dallas Fort Worth area ended after the company made a concession to the drivers. But a national network of Uber drivers has issued a call for another strike that is scheduled to begin on Friday, October 16 and end Sunday evening on the 18th.
The Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) strike began on September 18 when Uber corporate headquarters sent a message informing drivers that beginning September 18, all Uber Black and Uber SUV (a subcategory of Uber Black) vehicles must receive all eligible trip requests.
Uber Black is the most expensive service offered by Uber. Its basic rate in DFW is $14 plus $4 a mile with a $25 minimum for each ride.
Uber Black drivers own and maintain expensive luxury vehicles that can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $60,000.
The company directive essentially told them that they would be required to start taking all trip requests including Uber’s cheapest service, Uber X, The Uber X base rate is $1 plus $0.85 a mile with a minimum of $3.50 for each ride.
The company tried to frame its new policy as an opportunity for Uber Black drivers to earn more money, but drivers calculated that they would lose income if they were forced to drive their expensive vehicles for rock bottom fares.
If there was any question whether accepting the low-fare trips would be voluntary, the corporate message made it clear, “As always, you are expected to accept as many trip requests as possible, regardless of the type of request. Partners who maintain a low Acceptance Rate may be deactivated from the Uber platform.”
In other words, if Uber Black drivers turn down too many low fares, they will be fired.
After receiving the message, Uber Black drivers at the DFW airport turned off the app that tells them when a trip is available, formed a convoy, and drove to downtown Dallas where Uber’s local office is located.
They were joined by some other drivers, including Uber Select, a luxury service just below Uber Black, and Uber X drivers.
The new trip acceptance policy wasn’t the drivers only grievance, and they presented management with a list of eight demands:
1. Increase Uber X fare to $1.50/mile
2. Increase Uber XL fare to $2.00/mile
3. Increase Uber Select fare to $2.50/mile
4. Return to the status quo
5. Pay and refund all charges taken from riders to the drivers
6. Allow tipping
7. Stop forcing drivers to accept all platform requests; instead, treat Uber partners with respect and as humans and stop taking us for granted
8. Activate all of Uber partners that were deactivated since the start of the strike
At first, Uber refused to make any concessions, and the strikers maintained their strike throughout the weekend.
On Monday morning, September 21, Uber management met with representatives of the drivers and agreed to allow Uber Black drivers to opt out of accepting lower fares.
That concession was enough to get some drivers to turn their app back on and commence picking up fares again.
However, on Tuesday morning, some drivers remained on strike. They were miffed that Uber had ignored their other demands.
By Wednesday, the strike appeared to be over. There was no mention of it on the Facebook page of the Dallas Uber Partners Union.
But the union’s Facebook page included a video from Uber Freedom, a network of Uber drivers, calling for a nationwide strike of Uber drivers that will begin October 16.
The demands of the strike include:
- Raise the Uber X fare rates to at least $1.60 a mile across the board
- Put a tip option on the app
- Allow drivers to see the end destination before accepting the trip
- Treat us as true Independent Contractors and stop deactivating drivers for low acceptance rating or high cancellations. As true IC’s, we have the right to pick and choose rides
- Do not adjust fares without first getting the driver’s side
“The time has come for all drivers to stand up to Uber and demand real change at Uber,” said Abe Hussein, the administrator of Uber Freedom Facebook page. . . “The date (of the strike) is Friday, October 16 at 5 P.M. ending on Sunday at 10 P.M. (Uber) drivers across the nation, do not go online for those three days.”