By Akash Sriram
(Reuters) -Thousands of drivers for ride-sharing platforms Uber, Lyft and food delivery app DoorDash are expected to go on strike across the United States on Valentine’s Day for fair pay, drivers’ groups said on Monday.
The demonstrations are set to take place about a week after Lyft said it would guarantee weekly earnings for drivers, a first in the U.S. ride-hailing industry as it looks to lure more drivers to its platform.
“We are constantly working to improve the driver experience,” Lyft, which is set to report quarterly results on Tuesday, told Reuters on Monday.
The drivers, considered independent contractors, have accused the platforms of taking disproportionately high amounts as commissions.
“This is the biggest strike I’ve ever seen, thousands and thousands of drivers … it’s going to be nationwide,” Jonathan Cruz, a driver in Miami and part of the Justice For App Workers coalition, which represents more than 100,000 drivers.
Uber said only a minority of its drivers participate in such strikes, which rarely have an impact on business.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said last week on an earnings call with analysts that drivers in the U.S. earned about $33 per utilized hour in the fourth quarter.
While many drivers sign up with these firms to supplement their income from other jobs, some drive full time for the platforms.
“A year into algorithmic pricing, drivers have seen incredible decrease of our pay… whatever calculations and algorithms they’re using, it’s absolutely useless,” Nicole Moore, president of the California-based Rideshare Drivers United union, told Reuters on Sunday.
In 2023, Uber drivers’ monthly average gross earnings fell 17.1%, while those of Lyft drivers increased 2.5%, according to Gridwise, which analyzes gig mobility data.
“By not paying drivers a livable wage, drivers are barely able to afford the bare necessities,” said Shantwan Humphrey, a driver in Dallas, Texas.
DoorDash did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Pooja Desai and Anil D’Silva)