Uber and Lyft users may want to have a backup plan in place if they plan to use the ride-hailing services Wednesday, given drivers for both applications plan to strike across the country.
Drivers plan to hold a work stoppage to protest what they say are low wages and poor working conditions. Labor organizers are planning rallies at Uber and Lyft's corporate offices and regional headquarters.
Whether South Carolina drivers plan to participate in the strike in large numbers is hard to say, though some said on social media they intended to. Considered to be part of the gig economy, drivers for the two companies are considered independent contractors.
Matthew Todd, who administrates a local Facebook page for Uber and Lyft drivers, said in a message he and other group leaders doubt South Carolina will "show up" for the protest.
"There might be a dip in the availability of drivers because of those who participate, but it won't have much of an effect because there is always someone willing to drive," he said.
Ensuring every contractor across the country gets the word about a strike would be difficult, he said.
Uber drivers earn $9.21 on average in hourly wages, after taking the cost of fees, vehicle expenses and a basic health insurance plan, according to a study released Tuesday by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. About 833,000 people drive for Uber in a year, according to the research, but the workers tend to leave the job quickly and average only 17 hours per week of work.
The strike was first called by Uber drivers in Los Angeles who have held protests in recent weeks over a 25 percent cut in their mileage rates.
Drivers in other countries, including England, are joining the strike, with some holding daylong work stoppages and others joining only for a few hours. In New York, as many as 10,000 drivers are joining a two-hour morning commute work stoppage, organizers with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance said.
Besides better wages, drivers are calling for a more transparent wage structure, attention to safety concerns and a right to appeal "unjust firings" with little to no notice.
The strike comes in advance of Uber's plans to make its initial public offering this week. It is targeting its valuation between $80 and $90 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company's move comes just a few weeks after competitor Lyft made its initial public offering, with a valuation of about $25 billion.
It is also only a few weeks after the killing of Samantha Josephson, a 21-year-old University of South Carolina student who got in a car she mistakenly thought was her rideshare. Following her death, South Carolina legislators advanced a bill that would require drivers to post their license plate number in their windshields.