The Uber Drivers Network of New York have decided not to join San Francisco, Los Angeles, and London drivers in what was intended to be one of the largest Uber protests to date. Instead, in solidarity with their fellow Uber drivers, the organizers of the network in New York are encouraging drivers within the tri-state area to shut their phones off and go on strike.
Earlier this month, the California App-Based Drivers Association (CADA), a non-profit that works to protect fairness in the ride-sharing industry, called on drivers to protest outside of their local Uber offices this Wednesday. This would have been the third time the Uber Drivers Network of NYC protested outside of the Long Island City offices.
However, poor recent turnouts by the New York Driver's network changed the organization's plans. During an open conference call last week, spearheaded by one of the primary organizers Abdoulrahime Diallo, drivers were asked whether they would show up to two important upcoming events: the TLC hearing regarding new proposed rules that would limit the way Uber and Lyft operate and tomorrow's global protest. Most drivers agreed to show up to both, but only around 10 drivers, a small fraction of the 1,266 drivers in the network, showed up at the hearing.
Given the poor showing at the hearing, organizers Riaz Abdeen and Diallo told BuzzFeed News it was unlikely that they would join the protests. In the 72 hours leading up to the protest, the network has been sending out street teams, so to speak, to spread the word to other Uber drivers about the strike and the network.
The network emphasized they will continue to strike despite seeming efforts from Uber NYC to encourage against the protests. In the Facebook post announcing the strikes, the network indicated that Uber, in an attempt to dissuade drivers from striking, has been offering no-commission "incentives" to drivers this week from 6 to 10 A.M.. BuzzFeed News has reached out to the organizers and Uber for more information as to the specifics of these incentives.
While organizers of the protest feel that the incentives that Uber rolled out this week — the company is not taking a cut of drivers fares during the morning rush — were specifically meant to dissuade drivers from protesting, Uber NYC general manager Josh Mohrer said it was not the company's intention to do so.
"We run incentives like this all the time," Mohrer wrote to BuzzFeed News over email. "We've been targeting morning rush, for example, for most of the year. The two are not related."