Bernie Sanders backs striking Uber, Lyft drivers

Bernie Sanders backs striking Uber, Lyft drivers

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHarris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign 2020 Dems put spotlight on disabilities issues Lee, Sanders introduce bill to tax Wall Street transactions MORE (I-Vt.) tweeted his endorsement Wednesday of a ride-hailing drivers' strike set to take place.

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

 

Sanders accompanied the tweet with a video of Uber drivers describing issues with the company’s business practices. “Earnings have gone down so much that people can’t afford health care,” one driver says in the video.

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“There’s not enough money for basic things that people need. Most people are working 50, sometimes 60 hours a week, to be able to make the money that they were making three years ago, and that means that people are driving while they’re exhausted.”

The strike comes two days before Uber’s planned initial public offering (IPO), with drivers for both the company and Lyft, its main competitor, demanding a livable hourly rate as well as clearer protocols on wages, tips, deactivations and fare breakdowns, along with union recognition.

"While the $100bn IPO will make millionaires of many Uber investors and executives, Uber has cut the pay of drivers often leaving them earning less than minimum wage after expenses,” Gig Workers Rising, a campaign by app and platform workers, said earlier this month. “Uber also denies drivers basic worker benefits such as vacation time, healthcare and retirement contributions.”

Sanders has frequently targeted some of the world's largest companies, contrasting the compensation of C-suite executives and company profits with the companies’ rank-and-file workers.

He recently pointed at the record-setting box office numbers for “Avengers: Endgame” to call on Walt Disney Co. to use the profits to pay middle-class wages to all employees.