Uber and Lyft Drivers Striking

20 Aug, 2019 Bruce Burk


Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) - Uber and Lyft have revolutionized the ride sharing business. Just a few years ago, they did not exist and people were using taxis. Their prominence has resulted in many industry changes in insurance, workers’ compensation, and workers’ rights.

Recently, drivers for Uber and Lyft went on strike to enforce the rights of the drivers after long periods of complaints that they were getting shortlisted despite the companies’ massive success.

In over 10 cities, drivers protested following the initial public offering asking even passengers to boycott use of the services. The protests spilled into the offices of Uber and filled the streets.

The drivers are demanding a 10% cap on commissions taken by the companies, hourly minimums and rules regarding account cancellations. Some say that Uber can take up to 50% of a ride charge.

This represents the ongoing battle in the gig economy to keep the contractors happy while the businesses can still turn a profit. The reason that the employers seek to have the drivers classified as independent contractors is so the companies can save money on benefits like health insurance.

Following the success of Uber and Lyft, many states have sought to pass legislation to clarify the definitions of an employee or an independent contractor to help the situation. The IRS has issued a serious of publications to determine what category the worker is that largely centers on the level of control the company exerts on the worker.

Uber’s IPO did little to change the company’s desire to designate drivers as independent contractors. Many of the drivers feel that the company is raking in millions of dollars on their backs without them being rewarded.

Although Uber drivers do not receive workers’ compensation benefits, they have a special form of Driver Injury Protection through One Beacon Insurance. It covers them if they are either picking up passengers or dropping them off. This policy covers loss of earnings and medical bills in the event of an accident.

There are mixed reviews as to the exact amount of money that Uber and Lyft drivers make. Uber drivers have to account for the cost of gasoline and the depreciation on their cars as the cost of doing business. Some say they earn as little as $15 an hour once they take out costs, Uber’s fees, and taxes. Many drivers complained after surge pricing was lowered which allowed drivers to earn much higher rates during late hours of the night on Fridays, Saturdays, and special events.

The policy makes it very clear that this is not a workers’ compensation policy and a certain amount of money is taken from the drivers’ pay to fund this policy. Many motor vehicle insurance policies now ask people if the car will be used for ride-sharing which can effect monthly premiums.

Uber and Lyft seems to also have some kind of agreement where they are covered under this policy regardless of what app they are logged into. This means there will be not be situation where one company is fighting the other for who is liable.

It is expected that this debate between Uber, Lyft and their drivers will continue. How these issues are resolved can effect many other industries as the on-demand gig economy continues to grow into other areas such as personal services and groceries. For some, Uber and Lyft remain a great way to make money without having a formal job or boss.







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    About The Author

    • Bruce Burk

      Bruce Burk is an experienced workers' compensation defense attorney located in South Florida. He has also worked in civil litigation and criminal defense, handling more than 40 trials, both jury and non-jury. Burk received his law degree from the University of South Carolina and his bachelor's degree from Palm Beach Atlantic University.

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