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Chicago Uber, Lyft Drivers to Join in National Strike Wednesday

Both Lyft and Uber released statements in response to Wednesday’s planned protest.

By Trina Orlando, NBC 5

Thousands of rideshare drivers in Chicago were expected to join forces in several cities across the country on Wednesday, logging out of their apps for 24 hours as part of a strike coming as Uber prepares to go public.

Drivers in Chicago want city leaders to regulate rideshare services, while nationwide, the strike is part of a call for higher wages and a cap on drivers. Chicago drivers were expected to hold a rally at 3 p.m. at City Hall.

On Wednesday, getting an Uber or Lyft in Chicago for passengers like Alysha Wolsey won’t be so easy.

“(I’m) shocked because we need to get to the airport in the morning,” she said.

Dan Blank is also a frequent user of rideshare apps waiting to see how Wednesday plays out.

“That’s going to be interesting for us since we don’t have a rental car here or anything like that,” he said.

Lenny Sanchez is with Chicago Rideshare Advocates.

“Obviously the biggest one to us is that pay has gone down 50 percent gradually over the last two years,” he said. “Now (we’re) barely compensated enough to cover our expenses.”

At an O’Hare Airport rideshare lot Tuesday night, the advocate group chanted “enough is enough!” and rallied drivers like Bobby Karaidos to participate in Wednesday’s action.

“Everybody has to, everybody has to,” Karaidos said. “Because they gotta fight for their rights.”

Both Lyft and Uber – preparing for an IPO on Friday – released statements in response to Wednesday’s protest.

“Lyft drivers’ hourly earnings have increased over the last two years,” Lyft said. “On average, Lyft drivers earn over $20 per hour.”

“Drivers are at the heart of our service,” Uber said. “We can’t succeed without them.”

This article originally appeared on NBC Channel 5 News.

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