New York, USA — Uber’s lock-up period officially commenced last Wednesday, where all of its investors could cash out their shares and turn their stock into real money. And as the lock-up period ends, thousands of Uber shareholders flooded the market to get rid of their bad investment. Subsequently, this caused the company’s stock to hit record lows. In fact, the company’s shares were trading at $26.96 – roughly 40% lower than its initial public offering of $45.
According to Bloomberg, Uber was one of the most actively traded US stocks last Wednesday. At one point, a block of 7.75 million shares was sold. Later on, Goldman Sachs sold another block of 2 million shares. Uber had roughly 1.7 billion shares when it went public, according to filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
However, this is not the only headache Uber is facing during this nightmarish period. A class of 96,000 drivers who worked for the company from 2013-2017 flooded the streets of New York seeking repayment for fees deducted from their fares.
The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, who filed the suit, allege that the company deducted sales tax and the Black Car Fund surcharge from drivers during that time. The lawsuit is asking for all of that money back.
Moreover, the drivers’ goal was to emphasize on how the end of Uber’s lockup period will add to the disparity of wealth between themselves and the company’s investors and employees.
“Uber bosses are raking in millions while drivers struggle to feed their families,” Executive Director of the NYC Taxi Workers Alliance Bhairavi Desai said in a statement. “Uber’s business model depends on exploiting vulnerable low-wage workers – including by stealing from driver pay. But time and time again, when workers fight back, we beat Uber even with all their billions.”
The San Francisco protest…
NYC Uber drivers weren’t the only ones protesting during the lock-up period – so was California.
Drivers and their advocates targeted three locations to protest on Wednesday. Hundreds of drivers protested outside one of Google’s San Francisco offices. Google Ventures, the company’s venture capital branch, reportedly owned more than $5 billion in Uber shares as of May.
“Uber has spent a decade creating algorithms to squeeze every red cent out of drivers,” Uber driver Erica Mighetto said. “There is no reason why Google Ventures makes millions of dollars when drivers, like myself, become homeless.”
Along with the Google office, drivers also picketed in front of the homes of Uber co-founder Garrett Camp in Beverley Hills and venture capitalist Bill Gurley in Atherton, California. About 50 people showed up carrying signs that read “Deactivate Uber Billionaires” and “Drivers make pennies, investors make millions.”
“We stand in solidarity with drivers and workers,” said San Francisco Supervisor Gordon Mar. “When we stand together, when we fight together, we will win.”