CORNELL UNIVERSITY MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICEFeb. 2, 2017 Uber shuns civil society with bumbled response to strike

The ride-sharing service Uber has been at the center of much criticism after the company decided to break a taxi union’s strike against Trump’s immigration orders on Saturday, a move that is provoking continuing protests this week. Dania Rajendra, extension faculty at Cornell University’s Worker Institute, says Uber’s transparent attempt to profit from a demonstration reflects their anti-worker model.

Rajendra says:

“Many drivers and consumers alike are understandably cynical about Uber’s transparent attempt to profit from Saturday’s demonstration and undermine the Taxi Workers Alliance’s strike. That and Uber’s bumbled response to the new immigration policies are examples of the company’s inherently anti-worker model, from an opacity around rates, including surge pricing, and to its fundamental commitment to the idea that Uber drivers are ‘independent contractors’ – a position rejected by courts in Europe and in several states.

“The trending hashtag #DeleteUber and the ongoing protests reflects a growing public sentiment against prioritizing market demands over civil society priorities.

“We see new activists and long-standing leaders alike relying on the indispensable experience of workers and labor leaders, like those of the Taxi Worker Alliance, who have been fighting Islamophobia, bad working conditions, poverty wages and the gig economy long before these trends hit the headlines.

“Taxi workers first struck in 1998 against conditions created by former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani – they know quite a lot about how to take on these fights and win. Taxi Workers Alliance has always been focused on winning improvements not just for themselves, but for their families, their communities, the riding public, and for our cities as a whole.

“That message is resonating.”

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