NYC cab drivers are on strike to protest Trump's immigration ban, and Uber had an interesting response
By now almost everyone seems aware and concerned about the immigration ban called for by President Trump which forbids entrance into the U.S. to all refugees and anyone from the seven Muslim-majority countries. On Saturday night, New York City cab drivers went on strike, to join the resistance by halting service at JFK airport for an hour, in protest of shutting out over 218 million people from entering the United States, according to CNN. The NY Taxi Workers Alliance’s Facebook post includes not only the announcement of their service protest but also a message of opposition to the president’s ban. The organization wrote:
Cab drivers followed through with this strike and made a stand by, well, leaving their cab stands. The union shared a picture of the empty sidewalk that would be a sea of yellow had the cabbies not protested.
The NYTWA (a non-profit union) included Uber in their Facebook address, urging all driving services in New York City to stand in solidarity with protestors and those banned from entering the U.S. However, Uber took to Twitter to announce their canceling of surge prices on rides to and from JFK right after the official strike hour.
While Uber’s statement suggested that they were aware of the huge protests at JFK and were trying to assist protestors by allowing prices to go un-increased due to surges of requests, they still broke NYTWA’s call for strike and likely even profited from the taxi drivers’ withholding of service. This sparked a movement of people deleting the Uber app, as the company broke the workers alliance’s call for strike and capitalized on anti-ban protests.
Uber’s founder, Travis Kalanick, shared an email that he claims he sent to Uber drivers about the Muslim ban on his Facebook page, revealing that he plans to meet with Trump on Friday for a business advisory group meeting, as he is a member of the president’s economic advisory group. Kalanick’s relationship with Trump has sparked objections in the past, as he recently told employees, “We’ll partner with anyone in the world as long they’re about making transportation in cities better, creating job opportunities, making it easier to get around, getting pollution out of the air and traffic off the streets” according to CNN.
Hence the movement #DeleteUber which trended on Saturday night on Twitter, with people sharing screenshots of their deleting of the popular car service app.
Some were, um, more vehement than others as users by accusing Uber of acting as “scabs” — a term for people who cross picket lines and diminish the effectiveness of a worker’s strike.
Many people announced their new devotion for Uber’s competitor, Lyft, which pledged to donate $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) over the weekend.
Choosing to spend money on companies that align more closely with one’s political beliefs is a subtle yet powerful way to protest. According to The Lyft was trending on Twitter Sunday and people are clearly choosing to send a message with their wallets to Uber for their alleged lack of support for protestors at JFK airport on Saturday night and instead stand in solidarity with taxi drivers, who are often immigrants to the United States and would be directly affected by any immigration ban.