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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

By Lisa Baertlein

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Drivers for ride service company Uber will join planned nationwide protests on Tuesday, when activists and low-wage workers renew their call for better pay and the right to join a union in the wake of Donald Trump’s U.S. presidential election win, organizers said.

Hundreds of Uber drivers in two dozen cities, including San Francisco, Miami and Boston, for the first time will add their voices to the union-backed “Fight for $15” campaign that has helped convince several cities and states to raise starting pay significantly above the U.S. minimum wage of $7.25.

Justin Berisie, 34, drives for Uber in Denver and is joining Tuesday’s protests.

“Someone who lives in America and goes to work every day, that person deserves a decent living,” said Berisie, who has a 5-year-old daughter and is struggling to make ends meet. He said he earns $500 or less, before expenses such as gasoline, during an average week where he is on duty for 50 to 60 hours.

The four-year-old “Fight for $15” movement includes fast-food workers, home care aides, airport baggage handlers and other low-wage employees. Organizers from “Fight for $15,” which is backed by the Service Employees International Union, say the campaign’s Nov. 29 demonstrations will take place in 340 cities and nearly 20 of the nation’s busiest airports.

U.S. policy is expected to become less worker friendly following the election of Trump, a international businessman who will be president as fellow Republicans control both chambers of Congress as well as federal agencies that govern the formation of unions, overtime rules and more.

Uber drivers have sued the company in several states, accusing it of depriving drivers of various employment protections by misclassifying them as independent contractors.

The lawsuits are a test for companies such as Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL], a high-profile player in the so-called “sharing economy,” which say that their contractor model allows for flexibility that many see as important to their success. A legal finding that drivers are employees could raise Uber’s costs and force it to pay Social Security, workers’ compensation, and unemployment insurance.

(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

IMAGE: An Uber car is seen parked with the driver’s lunch left on the dashboard in Venice, Los Angeles, California, United States July 15, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

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3 responses to “Uber Drivers In U.S. Cities To Join Planned Worker Protests”

  1. johninPCFL says:

    Yes, Trump believes that you should pay for the privilege of working for him. And by “him”, he means any business in the US, since they’re all “his” now.

  2. Otto T. Goat says:

    Did someone force you to drive an Uber car?

  3. Jon says:

    Trump’s robots don’t have the mental capacity to understand why Trump has products made overseas contrary to his claim that America comes first. They have no idea why he used illegal Polish immigrants to do work on his Trump Tower project instead of American workers. They can’t comprehend why Trump illegally bought aluminum and steel from China for use in his buildings when the industries in America were hurting. Anyone who hasn’t figured out that America First means Trump First in his effort to create an underclass of low wage workers combined with massive tax cuts for the wealthy as part of his plan to try to bring jobs back from overseas. Trump has shown his desire for extremely low wages for workers in order to make American workers’ wages comparable to those of other countries with depressed wages and make America great again.

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