Ocasio-Cortez throws weight behind Uber, Lyft strike

Ocasio-Cortez throws weight behind Uber, Lyft strike
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezTrump tops list of most tweeted about politicians in 2019 Buttigieg campaign says 2000 people attended Iowa rally Trump keeps Obama immigration program, and Democrats blast him MORE (D-N.Y.) is throwing her weight behind the Wednesday strike from Uber and Lyft drivers.

The New York progressive tweeted support for the strike to her more than 4 million followers, writing, "Your Direct Action for today: Don’t take an Uber or Lyft just for the day. (Just today! Cabs are fine! You can do it!)"

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Drivers from big ride-hailing firms such as Lyft and Uber, as well as smaller companies like Juno, are striking on Wednesday over what they say are unfair working conditions and a lack of transparency from their employers over how much they're paid. 

The drivers are calling for better wages, more benefits and clarity about how apps calculate their wages.

Drivers in 10 cities across the country are participating in the strike by turning off the app and encouraging riders to use public transportation instead. 

Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersLawmakers release defense bill with parental leave-for-Space-Force deal Gabbard says she won't participate in next debate even if she qualifies Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenGabbard says she won't participate in next debate even if she qualifies On The Money: White House, Dems edge closer to trade deal | GOP worries about Trump concessions | DOJ argues Congress can't sue Trump on emoluments | Former Fed chief Volcker dies UN International Anticorruption Day highlights democracy as a human right MORE (D-Mass.), both 2020 contenders with labor-oriented platforms, have also come out in support of the strike. 

"I stand with striking Uber and Lyft drivers today," Sanders said. "The greed has got to end." He noted that Uber paid its top five executives a total of $143 million in compensation, including $45 million to its CEO last year.

Sanders last Congress introduced legislation that would have expanded the benefits offered to gig economy workers, such as Uber and Lyft drivers. The legislation, which has garnered support from most top Democratic presidential candidates in the Senate, would label the workers as "employees" rather than "independent contractors," allowing them to unionize and access a wider range of benefits.  

Those participating in the strike on Wednesday are appealing directly to legislators across the country, including at the federal level, asking them to extend fair labor protections to gig economy workers.  

Lyft in a statement said its drivers' hourly earnings have increased by 7 percent over the past two years. It argued that, on average, Lyft drivers "drive less than 10 hours a week to supplement existing jobs."

"Drivers are at the heart of our service — we can’t succeed without them — and thousands of people come into work at Uber every day focused on how to make their experience better, on and off the road," an Uber spokesperson said in a statement. "Whether it’s more consistent earnings, stronger insurance protections or fully-funded four-year degrees for drivers or their families, we’ll continue working to improve the experience for and with drivers.”