Lyft Drivers Protest as Company Celebrates Major Achievement

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. stage / steɪʤ / (v) – to do something publicly

    Some teachers staged a protest to demand higher pay.

  2. go public / goʊ ˈpʌblɪk / (idiom) – to offer shares of a company to the public so that anyone can buy and own them

    I bought some shares of my favorite restaurant when it went public.

  3. milestone / ˈmajəlˌstoʊn / (n) – an important event a person or an organization experiences

    Celebrating its 50th anniversary is the company’s most recent milestone.

  4. come together / kʌm təˈgɛðɚ / (phrasal) – to meet with other people and form a group

    The companies came together to discuss the new collaboration project.

  5. living wage / ˈlɪvɪŋ weɪʤ / (n) – salary that allows the earner and his/her family to afford their basic needs

    She left her old job because it did not give her a living wage, and she could barely pay bills.


Read the text below.

Drivers of ride-hailing service Lyft staged a protest on the day the company went public.

Last March, Lyft became the first ride-hailing company to open its shares for public trading. The move will give Lyft a chance to expand its capital by letting the public own and trade its stocks. Lyft was valued at $24.3 billion on its debut, and its shares were offered at up to $87.24 each.

However, in the midst of this milestone, Lyft’s drivers came together in California to go on strike against the company. Protests were held in San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles. The drivers voiced out their concerns about low wages, pay cuts, and poor working conditions that they experienced.

The protesters demanded a living wage and better transparency from the company. Specifically, they were asking for a minimum wage of $28 per hour, and they wanted to know how the company decides on its policies and on the drivers’ compensation.

Additionally, the drivers requested for benefits that are similar with those of full-time and part-time employees. Since they are considered contractors, they cannot receive employee benefits like health insurance and paid leaves.

Aware of the difficulties that ride-hailing drivers face, Lyft established programs meant to aid drivers even before the company went public. These programs, called Lyft Driver Services, include rental car discounts, bank accounts and debit cards without fees, and access to affordable car service centers.

Lyft also promised to build support centers for drivers where they can have vehicle repairs and maintenance at a lower cost. While Lyft already has a number of service shops, these centers do not offer the promised services yet.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• How do you think the drivers’ protests will affect potential investors’ perception of Lyft? Discuss.
• If you were one of Lyft’s drivers, what would you do if the company fails to act on your concerns?

Discussion B

• Do you think protests are an effective way to voice out employee concerns? Why or why not?
• Aside from protests, how else can employees effectively voice out their concerns? Discuss.