For-hire drivers in at least eight major cities will go on a two-hour strike against Uber and Lyft ahead of Uber’s planned initial public stock offering on Friday. The New York City Taxi Workers Alliance said its members voted not to drive for Uber or Lyft between 7am and 9am on Wednesday. Drivers in other U.S. cities, including Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and San Francisco, are planning the work stoppage to demand a minimum wage, among other things. ‘Wall Street investors are telling Uber and Lyft to cut down on driver income, stop incentives, and go faster to Driverless Cars,’ Bhairavi Desai, executive director of The Taxi Workers Alliance, said in a news release. ‘With the IPO, Uber’s corporate owners are set to make billions, all while drivers are left in poverty and go bankrupt.’ The Taxi Workers Alliance is demanding increased job security and better wages, to be protected by implementing a ceiling on fare commissions to ensure drivers get to keep between 80 to 85 percent of the cost of every ride. To date, ride share companies have operated at a loss, with Uber reporting $1 billion in losses following 2019’s first quarter. Lyft’s IPO opened slightly higher than expected at $72 per share in March, before quickly dropping to the low $60 range, with today’s current stock price at $60.48. Financial experts anticipate Uber will raise $9 billion when it goes public on Friday. There are concerns among investors that a business plan aiming to cut losses by shrinking the profits of drivers will result in tension with the independent contractors that will lead to government-mandated protections. ‘We do see added risk from Uber aiming to take greater share of the fare from drivers and expect that the more Uber pushes here, the more drivers will fight back and protest, increasing the likelihood of regulations (particularly at the state level in the U.S. and in Europe) of minimum wage guarantees,’ Daniel Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, told the Washington Post.

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