Lee Carter is on strike today. Not from his job as the delegate for the 50th District in the Virginia General Assembly but from his part-time gig as a Lyft driver.
Drivers for Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing companies in cities across the country made Wednesday a no-work day to press for changes in drivers’ pay, job security and conditions of employment.
The job action is in advance of Uber’s initial public stock offering. Lyft made a public offering in March.
Carter, who is running for a second term this year representing a district that includes part of Prince William County and the City of Manassas, said he’s been a Lyft driver since late February when the most recent legislative session ended.
But like other drivers, he wasn’t responding to calls for rides today.
“I’m not driving today. I drive about 20 to 25 hours a week. Some drive 50, 60, 70 hours a week. I do it part-time to help make ends meet,” said Carter. Some drivers working longer hours have trouble making a living, he said.
“I’m a privileged person. My health insurance is from the General Assembly. Others are doing a lot of work and just barely getting by,” Carter said.
“All [company] expenses are essentially offloaded on the drivers. People are doing work that’s creating value for the company and aren’t getting anywhere near the compensation for it. Others are becoming millionaires overnight,” he said of investors who stand to benefit from the stock sale.
As for whether he thinks the strike will have any effect, Carter said, “We’ll find out.”
Carter is a former U.S. Marine who is also worked as an I.T. networking contractor until he was sidelined by an electrical shock and a related back injury a few years ago. He said he’ll be campaigning rather than driving today. He normally works as a driver for hire at night.
Carter is a Democratic Socialist facing a June 11 primary challenge from Manassas City Councilman Mark Wolfe (D).
Reach James Ivancic at firstname.lastname@example.org.