Uber Sparks Protest For Collecting Fares During Taxi Strike This Weekend
Uber made headlines this weekend in a not so good way. Hundreds of Twitter users sparked the #DeleteUber trend to protest the company’s decision to continue with normal operating during a taxi strike at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The strike was in opposition to President Trump’s refugee ban and drivers refused to pick up passengers from the airport. However, Uber drivers swooped in and remained under normal operating conditions.
Lyft is an Uber rival and on Sunday quickly took control of the issue by pledging to donate $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union, which fought for a stay of the ban and secured the release of refugees who had been stranded in transit, said the Washington Post.
While Lyft drivers also gave rides during the strike, #DeleteUber didn’t begin trending until after the company tweeted that it was lifting surge pricing at JFK International Airport, where thousands had gathered against the ban.
It appeared that the company was trying to make a profit off of striking workers. Left too paused its surge pricing and continued to operate though, said a company spokeswoman. Dozens of Uber customers said they would still turn to Lyft instead.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is a member of President Trump’s economic advisory group and has pledged to work with the president on issues involving urban mobility. In a memo to employees on Saturday Kalanick expressed his concern over the ban saying it would affect “many innocent people,” and that the company would explore how to compensate impacted employees for three months, the Washington Post reported.
The order “affects thousands of drivers who use Uber and come from the listed countries, many of whom take long breaks to go back home to see their extended family,” Kalanick said to the Washington Post. “That means they will not be able to earn a living and support their families—and of course they will be separated from their loved ones during that time.”
Our CEO’s reaction to immigration order: “We’ll compensate drivers impacted by the ban pro bono for next 3 months.” https://t.co/meCT1ahEjH
— Uber (@Uber) January 29, 2017
While Kalanick said he would bring up the issue to Trump at a Friday meeting, many customers still left complaints on the Uber website. Uber responded back after seeing the complaints.
“We’re sorry for any confusion about our earlier tweet—it was not meant to break up any strike,” read a statement from company, per the Washington Post. “We wanted people to know they could use Uber to get to and from JFK at normal prices, especially tonight.”