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Local Uber, Lyft drivers protest low wages as others across country strike

By: KIRO 7 News Staff

SEATAC, Wash. – Thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers across the country are planning to turn off their apps to protest what they say are declining wages at a time when both companies are raking in billions of dollars from investors.

Seattle rideshare drivers are not going on strike but are holding a driver speak out event Wednesday in coordination with what’s called the National Day of Action, where labor unions rally for better conditions.

Drivers want to highlight increasingly high company take rates, low pay and driver concerns.

Wednesday’s event is expected to start at 11 a.m. at Sea-Tac Airport’s ride hail lot at 3037 S. 160th St.

A news release for the event says members of the App-Based Drivers Association will discuss “new information that exposes how Uber and Lyft are pocketing an increasingly greater share of rider payment in the Seattle market while drivers are earning less.”

The protests are timed in advance of Uber’s initial public stock offering on Friday. Uber aims to raise $9 billion from investors and is expected to be valued at up to $91.5 billion.  Lyft has already cashed in with Wall Street investors.

Many drivers live in cities that are known for high costs of living, so they turn to rideshare driving as another stream of income to offset those costs.

“Our cost of living, the rent, gas price, everything else goes up, but the wage we are making has been the same,” said rideshare driver Fasil Teeka.

Lyft said its drivers’ hourly earnings have increased over the last two years, that 75 percent of its drivers work less than 10 hours per week to supplement existing jobs and that on average the company’s drivers earn over $20 an hour.

Strikes and other actions are planned in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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