Utah Uber drivers speak out about strike

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – As their colleagues in other cities went on strike Wednesday, Utah Uber drivers agree they’re the ones being taken for a ride. 

They claim that changes to Uber’s fees and fare structure have slashed their pay in half. Justin Story says he used to make “$800 a week and now I’m making probably a lot less than that, about $400 a week.”

Aziz Dariahshini showed ABC4 his pay page for last week and we divided his total by the hours worked. Last week Aziz made $7.26 per hour, just one penny more than the minimum wage. A 2018 study by MIT showed that rideshare drivers make a median rate of between $8.55 and $10 per hour. 

“On average a lot of drivers drive 12 to 14 hours a day trying to make ends meet,” driver Jason Dettrey said. 

Cade Cunningham is a former Uber driver who says he doesn’t understand the strike.

“I think as an Uber driver or a Lyft driver you really have the freedom to work whenever you want,” Cunningham said. “If you don’t like the pay in my mind there’s always other positions out there you can go try.”

Driver Dan Palmer has only been doing it for about a month.

“I know that people who have done it longer than I have swear that they’re making half of what they were,” Palmer said during a quick trip to the airport. “I think the real struggle is just the wear and tear on your car and the gas you put back in. If you just count the money you’re putting in your pocket you think ‘Yeah I’m doin’ OK’  but if you’re going to treat it like a business, you’re really not.”

All this comes as Uber prepares to go public on Friday with an estimated stock valuation of $90 billion.

“I kinda feel like they’re just using us,” Story said. “They’re supposed to eventually go to the automated cars and so they’re just building their fortune through us and then they’re going to get rid of us once the automated cars become available.”

Some drivers ABC4 spoke to said that Uber executives and shareholders stand to make a lot of money after the company goes public on Friday. Meanwhile, they’ll still be sitting and waiting for their next request. 


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