Uber, Lyft and DoorDash drivers turn off their apps in Valentine's Day pay protest

Uber, Lyft drivers at Newark Airport join nationwide Valentine's Day strike

Thousands of Uber, Lyft and DoorDash drivers turned off their apps Wednesday in a Valentine's Day demonstration to demand better pay and working conditions, organizers of the protest said.

"We are turning our apps off to get their attention, they are going to have to give up some of that piece they are taking," Carlos Pelayo, 69, a substitute high school teacher in San Diego who supplements his income by driving for Uber and Lyft, told CBS MoneyWatch.

"If you make this your main source of income, you're very vulnerable, you're in a precarious state," said Pelayo, a rideshare driver for nearly eight years and an organizer with Rideshare Drivers United, an independent union leading the protest.

"We're sick of working 80 hours a week just to make ends meet, being constantly scared for our safety and worrying about deactivated with the click of a button," stated the Justice For App Workers coalition, which represents more than 100,000 drivers. 

The group said its members would not accept rides to or from airports in 10 cities in holding a Valentine's Day strike. Drivers planned rallies at airports in Austin, Chicago, Hartford, Miami, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Providence and Tampa.

Meanwhile, U.K. delivery drivers for Uber Eats, Deliveroo, Just Eat and Stuart said they would turn off their apps and refuse deliveries between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., according to the Associated Press. The group Delivery Job U.K., which called for the walkout, said on Instagram that the strike was "a crucial opportunity to be seen and heard by society," the wire service reported.

Of eight delivery drivers who spoke with The Associated Press on the streets of London Wednesday, all but one said they planned to halt work at 5 p.m. Several, however, questioned whether the strike was long enough to make enough of a financial dent in the businesses.

"One day is not effective," said Evadur Rahman. "If we strike more than one day -- two, three, four days – they're gonna be affected."

Delivery Job U.K. said 3,000 people planned to strike, but it was unclear how many U.S. drivers would be participating. 

Lyft, Uber, DoorDash drivers striking for Valentine's Day

Uber downplayed the impact of the action, saying the driver protest was having no discernible effect on business. 

"Despite the headlines, we've seen no impact to our operations or reliability for riders. In fact, in most markets, there are more drivers on the road today than there were during the same period last week," Uber stated on Wednesday afternoon.

DoorDash echoed the sentiment, saying it had seen a handful of videos of up to 20 people at airports, and that its business had not been impacted at all.

Despite the labor action, some Wall Street analysts said it was unlikely to have much of an impact on rideshare companies. 

"The driver protests remain an issue but a containable one for Uber and Lyft. Uber is firing on all cylinders now," Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives said in a report.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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