Uber drivers threaten to strike over tips and fares

Groups of Uber drivers across the country are organizing to go on strike this weekend unless the on-demand transportation company agrees to increase fares and add a tipping option.

The drivers, who are coordinating over Facebook, are proposing a strike that begins Friday evening and lasts through the weekend.

Drivers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Houston have said on the social network that they will participate in the strike, but it is unclear how many will actually carry out the plan.

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"We always welcome feedback from driver-partners," an Uber spokesperson said in a statement.

As of Friday afternoon, more than 1,200 drivers had indicated on the nationwide event’s Facebook page that they were going to participate.

Last month, more than 300,000 drivers were active on the Uber platform.

According to organizers, the drivers have four demands: that Uber increase fares by 60% nationwide, that the company add a tipping option to the Uber app (competitor Lyft already has such a feature), that the ride cancellation fee be raised to $7 and that the minimum fare be increased, also to $7.

Drivers for Uber are considered independent contractors and, as such, are unable to formally unionize and demand changes.

Current and former drivers have filed a class-action lawsuit in San Francisco’s federal court that could force Uber to classify its drivers as employees, putting the ride-hailing company on the hook for driver expenses, minimum-wage payments and other benefits. The case has not yet gone to trial.

Twitter: @traceylien

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