Uber drivers are planning to strike in seven cities on May 8, which may be right around the time the company has its big IPO day on Wall Street. The drivers are demanding better pay, benefits, and transparency around their wages.
Uber unveiled its IPO "roadshow" filing Friday morning, and we now know the company is looking to raise $9 billion on 180 million shares priced between $44 and $50 per share.
Competitor Lyft had its IPO on March 28, and its stock, which had a first day bounce over the $80 mark, has settled down at around $57 today. That may have proved to be a lesson for the much larger Uber in its cautious stock pricing — Lyft broke out of the gate with an initial price at the top of its range, $72, and it hasn't traded over that price since opening day save for a few days earlier this month.
Now Uber drivers, who actually do all of the work that makes Uber its money (and yet are all contractors), are hoping to have their cause heard on or before the company's big, money-making day.
As Salon reports, the strike may take different shapes in different cities, but we know from the group Rideshare Drivers United LA, the plan is to turn off both the Uber and Lyft apps all day on May 8 and picket at LAX. Something similar may happen in SF.
Since many drivers drive for both rideshare companies, a rep for Rideshare Drivers LA explains the strike will affect both apps. "We are striking both companies, as both are in a race to the bottom to impress their investors at the drivers' expense," says rep Brian Brian Dolber to Salon.
In Los Angeles, driver rates were recently cut to 60 cents per mile — in Chicago, they're currently paid 61 cents per mile.
Still, Uber's IPO may not even wait that long. The only timeframe being reported right now is "early May," which means Uber could make its Wall Street debut as early as next Thursday or Friday, May 2 or 3.