The ride-hailing company Uber is making its initial public offering (IPO) on Friday. Executives are hoping for a whopping $91 billion valuation, which The New York Timessaid would be one of the largest in tech industry history. Uber says it has set aside about 3% of its shares for its drivers and will also be handing out “driver appreciation awards,” an obvious ploy to whitewash the poor conditions and wages under which drivers say they are forced to work.
Uber and Lyft drivers have been agitating for years to be recognized as direct employees rather than independent contractors. Los Angeles drivers have organized a 25-hour strike for May 25 to protest the 25% pay cut Uber recently announced. Workers in such cities as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and San Francisco are building on that action with a one-day strike on Wednesday, timed within days of Uber’s IPO.