By Sonali Kolhatkar
Source: Read full article at Truthdig
The ride-hailing company Uber is making its initial public offering (IPO) on Friday. Executives are hoping for a whopping $91 billion valuation, which The New York Times said would be one of the largest in tech-industry history. Uber says it has set aside about 3% of its shares for its drivers and will also be handing out “driver appreciation awards,” an obvious ploy to whitewash the poor conditions and wages under which drivers say they are forced to work.
Uber and Lyft drivers have been agitating for years to be recognized as direct employees rather than independent contractors. Los Angeles drivers have organized a 25-hour strike for May 25 to protest the 25% pay cut Uber recently announced. Workers in such cities as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and San Francisco are building on that action with a one-day strike on Wednesday, timed within days of Uber’s IPO.
James Hicks, a driver and organizer with Rideshare Drivers United-Los Angeles, told me in an interview that “we’re striking again because our demands were not met by Uber or Lyft, and so we’re going to put more and more pressure on them.”
The idea behind a strike—whether it is done by…