SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) — Drivers for the popular ride-share app Uber were protesting the company’s business practices in Santa Monica Tuesday.
Teamsters Local 989 organized the demonstration at 11 a.m. outside Uber Technology offices, 1437 Seventh St. in Santa Monica.
The drivers of the app-based ride-sharing company protested its alleged “general lack of communication, arbitrary treatment and unfair business practices,” one official said.
CBS2’s Art Barron reports Uber also wants its sedans and SUVs upgraded to 2010 or newer models within two weeks.
One driver, who did not wish to give his name, said that he and other drivers who provide Uber SUV and black sedan service fear they will be downgraded to the lower-class Uber-X platform, or deactivated altogether.
“They don’t care about the drivers. We’re really hurt and we’re going to be hurt in the future,” he said.
The protest also included the drivers raising awareness of Assembly Bill 612, sponsored by Sherman Oaks Representative Adrin Nazarin, which would require drivers submit to a fingerprint background check with the California Department of Justice.
“I think the drivers that are here today are saying that public safety is their primary concern,” Uber driver Joseph Dewolf said.
Eva Behrend of Uber released the following statement: “While Uber is focused on a great experience for riders and economic opportunity for drivers, the Teamsters Local 986 is focused on recruiting membership and filling their coffers. Partner drivers grow successful small businesses thanks to the freedom, flexibility, and economic opportunity afforded by the Uber platform. Uber partner drivers have a direct line into the Uber team and we will continue to work with them to ensure their small businesses thrive.”