Uber Drivers Protest ‘Corporate Greed’ as Billionaires Cash In

Many drivers feel like they’re investors as well, having sunk countless resources into working for the company

Sarah Emerson
OneZero
Published in
3 min readNov 6, 2019

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Photography: Sarah Emerson

OnOn a misty Wednesday afternoon in San Francisco’s Embarcadero neighborhood, dozens of ride-share drivers from around the Bay Area convened in front of Google Ventures, the investment arm of Alphabet, to protest the mistreatment of gig economy workers by Uber and its backers.

The protest was helmed by Gig Workers Rising, a campaign of 8,000 members that supports “app and platform workers” like Uber and Lyft drivers. Organizers timed it to the expiration of Uber’s IPO lockup, the point when most employees and investors such as Google — which bet $258 million on the company in 2013 — can cash in their shares for the first time since the company’s public offering. While Uber shares dropped on Wednesday, the lockup expiration will likely see the minting of new multimillionaires.

“It’s up to investors to make sure their investment isn’t going toward a predatory business model that hurts workers,” Jeff Perry, a Sacramento driver who was joined by his daughter at the demonstration, told OneZero. “The business reflects their values.”

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Sarah Emerson
OneZero

Staff writer at OneZero covering social platforms, internet communities, and the spread of misinformation online. Previously: VICE