'We want a voice': Rally at City Hall highlights tensions for Ub - KPTV - FOX 12

'We want a voice': Rally at City Hall highlights tensions for Uber, Lyft drivers

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KPTV photo. KPTV photo.
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Demonstrators rallied in downtown Portland Monday, pushing for higher compensation, improved working conditions and a voice at city hall for Uber and Lyft drivers.

The dozens of people, who say they drive for Uber and Lyft, called for the formation of a board to address issues related to drivers. Representatives from labor unions and other community supporters were also at the rally.

Attendees also asked officials to take a closer look at how ride-hailing companies are impacting the community

“Uber, Lyft, hear our call,” demonstrators chanted. “We want a voice at city hall.”

Speakers at the event voiced concerns about what they consider poor driving conditions, unfair deactivations and long work hours without adequate compensation, among other issues.

Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish attended the event and called it a “rally for fairness and justice”.

Fish outlined past tensions between the city and ride-hailing services, including Uber’s alleged “Greyball” practices.

“This is not the model of a good corporate citizen,” Fish said, referring to past issues between the city and the ride-hailing giant.

Fish acknowledged the company’s recent letter of apology to Portland and called it a “positive development,” but stopped short of saying it was enough.

‘We need more than good intentions; we need action,” Fish said. “It’s time TNC drivers had a real voice in the workplace.”

Uber released a statement to FOX 12 Monday questioning the validity of the rally organizers at Portland city hall, referring to the individuals as "taxi-affiliated special interest groups, not rideshare drivers."

"We regularly engage driver-partners and are constantly working to improve their experience using our app," Uber said in its statement. "We are committed to working with rideshare drivers, riders and the city to help address the region's transportation challenges and keep Portland moving forward."

The ride-sharing organization said that as of April 1, there were approximately 6,000 active Uber drivers in Portland.

In it's letter to city officials last month, Uber acknowledged several issues regarding collaboration and transparency with the city since it began operating in Portland in 2014. The company asked officials like Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler to help them become better partners for years to come. 

Speakers at the rally Monday also called for more transparency on issues related to drivers, such as accidents and car insurance.

FOX 12 has reached out the Portland Bureau of Transportation for comment but has not received a reply.

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