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Uber Drivers Join "Fight For $15" Protests As Autonomous Vehicle Technology Looms

Zero Hedge Monday, 28 November 2016
Uber Drivers Join Fight For $15 Protests As Autonomous Vehicle Technology LoomsStarting tomorrow Uber drivers from around the country will join the union-backed "Fight For $15" campaign that plans to hold protests in two-dozen cities including San Francisco, Miami and Boston.  The organization's twitter feed describes the protest as a* "national day of disruption"* which seems slightly less than a "constructive" approach to the very serious issue of the federal minimum wage.  Per Reuters:

*Hundreds of Uber drivers in two dozen cities, including San Francisco, Miami and Boston, for the first time will add their voices to the union-backed "Fight for $15" campaign* that has helped convince several cities and states to raise starting pay significantly above the U.S. minimum wage of $7.25.

Justin Berisie, 34, drives for Uber in Denver and is joining Tuesday's protests.

*"Someone who lives in America and goes to work every day, that person deserves a decent living,"* said Berisie, who has a 5-year-old daughter and is struggling to make ends meet. He said he earns $500 or less, before expenses such as gasoline, during an average week where he is on duty for 50 to 60 hours.

BREAKING: Tuesday, November 29, the #FightFor15 is staging a national day of disruption. We won't back down.
RSVP: https://t.co/4pJIXGkLjq pic.twitter.com/eJcUdCQJIE

— Fight For 15 (@fightfor15) November 21, 2016

Breaking: Uber Drivers Are Joining Nationwide #FightFor15 Protests on Tuesday https://t.co/mC1eS3BDQe pic.twitter.com/AI1C1lCBae

— Fight For 15 (@fightfor15) November 28, 2016

According to the "Fight For $15" website, the organization started with just a few hundred fast food workers in New York City and has since spread to over 300 cities and a variety of industries.  Meanwhile, the *organization also claims to have "won" mandates for a $15 per hour minimum wage in multiple jurisdiction across the U.S. including New York and California.*

The Fight for $15 started with just a few hundred fast food workers in New York City, striking for $15 an hour and union rights.

Today, we’re an international movement in over 300 cities on six continents of fast-food workers, home health aides, child care teachers, airport workers, adjunct professors, retail employees – and underpaid workers everywhere.

For too long, McDonald’s and low-wage employers have made billions of dollars in profit and pushed off costs onto taxpayers, while leaving people like us – the people who do the real work – to struggle to survive.

That’s why we strike.

When we first took the streets, the skeptics called us dreamers – said a $15 wage was “unwinnable.”

*We won $15 an hour across New York State and California.*

*We won $15 in Seattle, and huge raises in cities from Portland to Chicago.*

We won $15 for Pennsylvania nursing home workers and all hospital employees at UPMC – Pennsylvania’s largest private employer.

And we won’t stop fighting until we turn every McJob into a REAL job.

*Sometimes defining a "victory" can be difficult...this doesn't look like a "win" to us:*

And while UBER's labor replacement strategy may take a little longer to implement than McDonalds' solution, drivers should probably be a bit more cautious in what they wish for as a $15 federal minimum wage will only speed the development of autonomous vehicles.

Of course, this latest backlash from UBER employees comes after they launched several class-action lawsuits last year claiming that UBER illegal deprived them of employment benefits by "misclassifying them as independent contractors."

Uber drivers have sued the company in several states, *accusing it of depriving drivers of various employment protections by misclassifying them as independent contractors.*

The lawsuits are a test for companies such as Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL], a high-profile player in the so-called "sharing economy," which say that their contractor model allows for flexibility that many see as important to their success. *A legal finding that drivers are employees could raise Uber's costs and force it to pay Social Security, workers' compensation, and unemployment insurance.*

Meanwhile, per Bloomberg, India's largest UBER competitor, Ola, has been forced to seek new capital at a 40% valuation discount to it's previous raise as ride-hailing services around the globe continue to burn staggering amounts of cash.

India’s foremost ride-hailing service Ola is *pursuing a new round of funding that would give the company a 40 percent lower valuation than it had a year ago*, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter, as the startup tries to amass capital to stave off a challenge from Uber Technologies Inc.

*The company is raising funds that value the company at $3 billion, a sharp reduction from the $5 billion figure during a previous financing round in November 2015*. At the time it made Ola one of the nation’s four most valuable startups, alongside online retailers Flipkart and Snapdeal and digital payments operator Paytm.

If the deal goes through, Ola would become the first Indian unicorn -- a startup valued at a billion-dollars or more -- to accept funds at a lower valuation, in what’s known as a down-round.

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News video: Uber drivers to join planned nation-wide protests

Uber drivers to join planned nation-wide protests 00:52

Drivers for ride service company Uber will join planned nationwide protests in two dozen cities on Tuesday, when activists and low-wage workers renew their call for better pay and the right to join a union in the wake of Donald Trump's U.S. presidential election win,. For the first time, hundreds of...

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