On Friday, President Trump signed an executive blocking people from seven countries—including Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen—from entering the United States for 90 days. Protests erupted at airports across the country, including JFK, where the New York Taxi Workers Alliance announced they would not be picking up from the airport in objection to the order. Uber then tweeted it was dropping surge pricing in the area (then later tweeted that action was not meant to break the strike).
NO PICKUPS @ JFK Airport 6 PM to 7 PM today. Drivers stand in solidarity with thousands protesting inhumane & unconstitutional #MuslimBan.— NY Taxi Workers (@NYTWA) January 28, 2017
Earlier in the week, Uber's CEO Travis Kalanick—who is joining Trump's economic advisory team—stated at a company all-hands meeting that Uber would work with President Trump. "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," Kalanick said. This, combined with Uber's surge drop—which some saw as an opportunistic move to break the taxi drivers' strike—made for the perfect social media storm. Soon the city was abuzz with people pledging to #deleteuber.
In response, Kalanick released a statement to employees and to the general public that said Uber would compensate any of its drivers affected by the ban for the next 90 days, provide 24/7 legal services, create a $3 million legal defense fund and urge the government to reinstate the right of U.S. residents to travel. But it may be too little too late for scorned customers.
Many New Yorkers pledged to use Lyft and Juno (which takes a 10% commission on each ride from drivers as compared to Uber's 5%-25%) as alternative modes of transportation. (But don't forget, yellow taxis have an app of their own called Arro!) Lyft became one of the top 10 downloaded apps on Apple yesterday, and Lyft's cofounders announced yesterday that Lyft would donate $1 million to the ACLU over the next four years.
But the New York Taxi Alliance was quick to state that "corporations are not the same as the hard-working drivers for these companies often earning <3 min wage." They recently put out a statement on #deleteuber that read, in part: "Make no mistake, the corporations leading the gig economy and sharing economy will never be part of the resistance."
So what say you, New York? Who's in the right and who's in the wrong here? Did you #deleteuber?