Dozens of drivers for Uber and Lyft attempted to shut down streets in San Francisco on Tuesday, demanding the right to form a union and calling on state governments to pass a new bill supporting gig worker rights.
Lyft and Uber drivers from across California came in a 70-plus caravan to speak out in favor of Assembly Bill 5, known as AB5. Lyft and Uber have spoken against AB5, which would classify drivers as employees and enact basic worker protections.
Every Saturday morning before the sun rises, 35-year-old Uber driver Sultan Arifi rolls up the sleeping bag in the front seat of his car, places it in the trunk, and prepares for another day of work.
He will spend the next 12 hours picking up as many passengers as he can on the streets of San Francisco before returning to a grocery store parking lot in the north of the city to sleep, often for six hours or less, rising as early as he can on Sunday to do it all again.
Uber drivers in the US will stage a shutdown for 12 hours to protest against poor working conditions and low wages as the company goes public in May.
Drivers will log off the app in seven cities starting at noon on 8 May, the day Uber is expected to make its IPO. Drivers in San Francisco will also protest in front of the Uber headquarters. The action is backed by driver collectives including Gig Workers Rising in Northern California, Rideshare Drivers United in Los Angeles, and Chicago Rideshare Advocates.
In Silicon Valley, an open house can be more than an open house. At a six-bedroom, seven-bath home in the town of Menlo Park, a flamenco dancer swirled and a guitarist fingerpicked in a kitchen alcove. Outside, pesto pizza was pulled from the pizza oven. A face painter splotched unicorns on pudgy cheeks. A barista whipped up lattes. There were squishy toys for kids and videos of the house for potential homebuyers, who could keep the video-players.
Several big-name tech companies are set to enter the public market, and the speculation over the effects of a crush of overnight millionaires overwhelming the region has reached fever pitch.
Lyft has officially kicked off the roadshow for its initial public offering, saying Monday it plans to put more than 30m shares up for sale with an anticipated price of between $62 and $68 each.