Updated 29/01 with Uber’s response (bottom of post).
I deleted my Uber account today, 29th January 2017, in response to reports from New York that, by removing surge pricing during a strike by yellow cab drivers in solidarity with the travel ban protests at JFK Airport, Uber sought to profit from President Trump’s immoral – and later held by a federal court in Brooklyn to be unlawful – executive order temporarily banning travel to the US for nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
My decision is also in response to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick accepting a position on President Trump’s business advisory council.
When Uber arrived in Glasgow in October 2015 I became an enthusiastic early adopter, recommending the company to my friends and family as well as on my blog, Last Year’s Girl. That post became the top ranked on Google for the search term “uber Glasgow” that wasn’t Uber’s own website. I later became a member of Uber’s official affiliate programme and, thanks to strategic use of affiliate codes, profited from the company’s presence in the city through free rides and account credit.
I have read all the statements made by Uber New York, the Uber parent company and Kalanick since the JFK allegations came to light. I appreciate, too, the company’s intention to compensate its drivers unable to return to the US due to the president’s racist and unlawful executive order. However, I strongly believe that as a global business with name recognition that travels beyond borders – as well as a major employer of immigrant workers, both in the US and here in the UK – Uber can and should do more. As a forward-thinking, innovative business that prides itself on disrupting the status quo, it is incumbent on Uber to speak out: to condemn racism in all its forms and to offer the workers on whose backs it built its business its unqualified support, regardless of the consequences to its bottom line.
While I stand by my belief that certain aspects of Uber’s disruptive business model have been a good thing for the Glasgow taxi market – provided, of course, that it operates within the bounds of UK employment law – it is far more important to me to stand in solidarity with refugees, and with those of the Muslim faith. Many of the Uber drivers in Glasgow I have met and spoken to come from Muslim countries or Muslim families, or are practicing Muslims. They are, like people everywhere and from all sorts of religious backgrounds, just trying to make a living and get on with their lives in increasingly uncertain times.
As a UK and European citizen, I can only watch events unfold in America with increasing helplessness and horror. There is very little I can do to influence the eventual outcome. I’m aware that withdrawing my promotion and my custom is a drop in the ocean, that hurts me financially more than it hurts Uber. But rather that than be complicit in the company’s inaction.
The above is very similar to the message I sent Uber, to which the company responded:
Sorry to hear about what happened here, Lisa.
We share your concern that this ban will impact many thousands of innocent people. That’s why Uber is committed to financially compensating drivers affected by the ban, so that they can continue to support their families while they are prevented from returning to the US. For more information you can read our CEO’s statement at: http://t.uber.com/eo.
By no means were we trying to break up a strike at JFK. After the strike was over, we wanted to let people know that Uber was an option to get to/from the airport at normal prices.
While we’re sorry to hear about your concerns, we’ve gone ahead and deleted your account as requested.
Of course, if we can assist with anything further please let us know.