Why we need to address the demands of striking ride-hailing service driversRoundup
tags: strikes, labor history, transportation
Mary Angelica Painter is a PhD candidate in political science at the University of Missouri - St. Louis and the Confluence Chapter graduate fellow for the Scholars Strategy Network.
Today, drivers for ride-hailing services “walked out” because of their paltry pay and lack of benefits.
During the recession, layoffs, unemployment and underemployment released floods of drivers onto city streets at the same time that new technology spawned transportation apps such as Uber and Lyft that allowed anyone with a car to offer rides to paying passengers. The abundance of drivers combined with lax regulations mean these ride-hailing services are a mess: In addition to low salaries and no benefits, protections for drivers and riders are scarce, and drivers have no say in the management of the industry.
This isn’t the first time that the drivers who provide rides for Americans resorted to a walkout to protest their mistreatment and unlivable conditions. In 1934, New York City taxi drivers stopped service and blocked city streets to call attention to grievances similar to those of ride-hailing service drivers today.
Thanks to the strike, city officials, taxi fleets and even popular media outlets grew concerned with the plight of the drivers — and with the need to keep the peace in a labor conflict tinged with violence. The need for robust policy moved to the fore. The strike and its aftermath reveal how ride-hailing service drivers today can refocus the narrative on their suffering, and not on the companies such as Uber and Lyft.
The Great Depression led many Americans to seek informal work in jobs that today would be hosted on such platforms as TaskRabbit, Care.com, DoorDash and ride-hailing apps — menial, manual labor jobs in the “gig economy.” Some worked temporarily on farms or as house cleaners. Many crafted homemade goods and sold them on the street to earn extra cash. Some became self-employed truck drivers. Many could only find work with the Mafia.
comments powered by Disqus
- 131-Year-Old Confederate Statue Removed From Alexandria Intersection
- All the History I Learned in my Youth Came from the American Girl Doll Books
- Is This the Worst Year in Modern American History?
- Role-Playing Games are Breathing New Life into the History Classroom
- Dallas Awarded $50,000 to Preserve Civil Rights History
- What Is Antifa, the Movement Trump Wants to Declare a Terror Group?
- Confronting the History of a Southern Asylum: An Interview With Mab Segrest
- Nazi or Hero? Historian Looks at the Stories a German Consultant Told of His Father
- History, Right Now: Echoes of 1968, and Other American Years
- Don't Assume There'll be a 'Post-COVID-19 Era' - Historian Niall Ferguson Tells World vs Virus