Uber CEO faces backlash for relationship with President Trump, breaking taxi strike at JFK Airport

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was named as one of the executives who will advise President Trump on economic issues

By Taylor Link - Video produced by Kevin Carlin
Published January 30, 2017 3:46PM (EST)
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick   (Reuters/Danish Siddiqui)
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick (Reuters/Danish Siddiqui)

President Donald Trump was not the only executive who struggled with PR over the weekend.

As New York taxi drivers imposed a work stoppage at JFK Airport on Saturday in symbolic response to President Trump's executive order that barred entry to travelers from certain Muslim countries, Uber ignored the strike by offering its services instead.

The move was not well-received by Uber customers, many of whom felt that the transportation behemoth should be showing solidarity with immigrants by observing the strike.

During last week's all-hands meeting, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick addressed concerns with employees about his working relationship with President Trump, claiming it was necessary to fulfill Uber's mission in providing better urban mobility.

"We'll partner with anyone in the world as long they're about making transportation in cities better, creating job opportunities, making it easier to get around, getting pollution out of the air and traffic off the streets," Kalanick told employees.

"It's about the leaders we have to work with around the world, not just here in the United States but everywhere," he added. "And being optimistic — asking can we make urban mobility better?"

Kalanick was one of several tech executives named on Trump's business advisory group, including Tesla's Elon Musk and IBM's Ginni Rometty.

Last Friday, protesters chained themselves to the main entrance of Uber's headquarters, forcing employees to work from home that day. Uber responded to the protests by assuring customers and stockholders that it would work with the new administration the same way it did with the Obama White House. "As a company we're committed to working with government on issues that affect riders, drivers and the cities where we operate. Just as we worked with the Obama Administration, we'll work with the Trump Administration, too."

Taylor Link

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Video produced by Kevin Carlin

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