App-based drivers revive push for union rights | WBUR

App-based drivers rallied around the State House in downtown Boston on Wednesday afternoon to call for collective bargaining rights.

After an election cycle where ride-hailing and food delivery drivers’ rights were originally planned to be on the ballot, drivers for apps such as Uber, Lyft, Doordash and Instacart joined with labor advocate allies to attempt to reinvigorate calls for a union ahead of the new legislative session set to start in two weeks.

“Rideshare drivers and delivery drivers need a union, they need a voice in the workplace. Tens of thousands of app-based workers in this state live on the brink of poverty because of the exploitation of Uber and Lyft and other app-based platforms like them,” said Mike Vartabedian, assistant directing business representative of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers’ Massachusetts Union District 15.

Drivers for Uber and Lyft say the percentage of the cost of the trip that ride companies collect from each ride has doubled, or even tripled, in the last few years, taking profits away from drivers.

“I remember when I started driving five or six years ago, they used to take 20%, now without even bringing it to our attention, we look at the trip and suddenly they took 40% or even sometimes 60%,” said driver Ehab Hilali.

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