Uber and Lyft drivers hold nationwide protests to demand a livable wage

Uber and Lyft drivers went on strike Wednesday in several major cities for better pay, benefits and working conditions. Uber and Lyft drivers say they've had it with low pay and tough working conditions, so they held a strike and protest nationwide.

In front of Uber Headquarters in San Francisco, Rideshare Drivers United demanded the right to a unionize, make them employees again, end pay cuts, and give better benefits and working conditions. 

"Most drivers who qualify for the healthcare stipend are unable to get it for reason's like, 'oh, maybe they're on Medical," said rideshare driver Mekela. 

Drivers also demand that Congress pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act which would give them the right to unionize nationwide.

Rideshare companies spent some $200 million to pass Prop. 22. It took away the driver's status as employees, but promising drivers would benefit nonetheless. 

Uber claims drivers make more than $32 an hour; $42 an hour including incentive pay. 

"More hours for less pay and I was overworked and still not meeting the needs I needed financially to pay my bills," said Mekela. 

Another driver, speaking to the crowd, said this, "No retirement, at this point no home. I work 65 hours a week with very little time to spend with my family."

One advantage the workers have is that in the post pandemic world, many drivers have already left the rideshare profession causing unhappy customers to wait longer and pay more for rides. 

"People don't want to work for these wages anymore. They are tired of it. It was a long year for a lot of people. Most people don't even make enough to cover their gas and mileage," said Rideshare Drivers United spokeswoman Courtney Scott. 

"Being that we've been off for a year and a half. Right? Many people have gone back to school to learn a new skill and to thing about other alternative. I know a few people personally that don't intend to come back driving if they don't have to," said Mekela.

The Protect Rights to Organize Act has already passed in the House of Representatives and it now goes to the Senate where it will have tougher going, but will conceivably pass.