Will Uber drivers ‘strike’ over rates in NJ? Should they?
Should New Jersey Uber drivers follow their peers in New York and "strike?" Will they?
"NY Uber drivers protesting today starting at noon," wrote a poster to the Uberpeople.net forum Monday, as New York drivers planned a service slowdown. "They are asking all drivers to shut off the app for 24 hours. Meanwhile in NJ a quick glance at the pax app and we have a ton of cars on the road at 85 cents a mile. What is wrong with Jersey uber drivers? We are screwed!!!"
At issue is the company's decision to cut fares by 15 percent — a move that prompted hundreds of drivers to rally at its New York headquarters Monday. The company has roughly 30,000 registered vehicles in New York City.
Tuesday morning in Mercer County, Uber was showing typical availability — with a wait time of just a few minutes for a ride, at the new normal rates. The app was also advertising the 15 percent rate cute in the area.
Uber drivers work as independent contractors within its system, and work as much or as little as they'd like — so a "strike" doesn't apply in quite the same way it does with normal employees of a company, unionized or otherwise.
But those calling for the New York City service stoppage have said they hope it'll force Uber to reconsider its rate cut.
Uber also automatically raises rates when few drivers are on the road, to prompt more to make themselves available.
"Before, we made little, not much — but enough to feed the family," Mohammed Rahman, a New York City driver and father of two said. "But this is really, really bad."
It's hard to say how much support there is for a stoppage in New Jersey. Just a handful of people replied to the forum post suggesting one .
"Let's be smart about the NJ price cuts," another poster wrote. "We can do it! We don't need every driver to strike but if we can get a decent amount it'll work! Do you guys want to make money or not?
Uber announced the price reduction Friday A company spokesman said its data shows the fare reductions help drivers but bringing them more business, and that the rates could be increased if they don't work.
"Every city has busy months and slow times. In New York things tend to be quieter after the holidays. So we lowered prices to get more people using Uber, which is good for drivers because it means less time waiting around for trips," spokesman Matt Wing said. "As we have always said, price cuts need to work for drivers."
Reporting by the Associated Press was used in this story.