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Nationwide rideshare driver strike trickles down to Billings

Nationwide rideshare driver strike trickles down to Billings
Posted at 4:57 PM, Feb 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-15 11:20:43-05

BILLINGS — On Valentine's Day, thousands of rideshare drivers said they weren't feeling the love and went on strike nationwide to demand higher pay and safer working environments.

One full-time Uber driver in Billings, Dan Lord, said he has been driving since last April and decided to stay offline all day Wednesday to stand in solidarity with other workers. The rallies happened nationwide in at least 10 major cities, mostly at airports, with Uber, Lyft and Doordash drivers all going offline for the day.

“I know that I can’t personally make a change, but we can,” Lord said.

Nationwide rideshare driver strike trickles down to Billings

Lord said he started noticing a big difference in the pay he was earning around November and December, when he said Uber stopped offering extra pay during busy times at popular spots, such as an airport.

“It’s been pretty hard, and it’s been pretty tough to make ends meet,” Lord said. “(Before), if I made 250 (a day) I was happy, but I mean 200 was decent. Now, honestly, lately, since Christmas I’m lucky if I can even make 100.”

Lord isn't the only one in Billings earning less. Tim Garretson has been driving full-time for Uber and Lyft for a few years. He didn't participate in the strike but has been keeping an eye on the situation.

“I made more two years ago than I make now basically per ride,” Garretson said.  “I used to put in only eight hours a day, now I’m having to put in 10- and 12-hour days in. I’m not making what I used to.”

Nationwide rideshare driver strike trickles down to Billings

The Justice for App Workers coalition, which represents over 130,000 drivers and delivery workers, is leading the fight.

“The Valentine’s Day strike today has been one of the most powerful days in the history of our movement to win dignity at work for rideshare and delivery drivers. In addition to the courageous strikers who took part in all-day strikes planned for 10 cities across the country, we also celebrate the participation of rideshare drivers who self-organized strike actions in more than a dozen additional cities today, including in Billings, Montana," the Justice for App Workers said in an official statement to MTN News. "The issues we are fighting to reform are systemic problems resulting from the unchecked corporate greed of Uber and Lyft, and they impact drivers in every single place where the App companies operate - including Montana. We applaud the bravery of the Billings strikers, and stand with App workers everywhere who lead with heart in our fight for the future we all deserve.”

No formal protests happened in Billings, but Lord is hopeful some change will happen from the Valentine's Day strikes.

“That strike might be just for today but I’m just taking it one day at a time,” Lord said.