Historic Victory for NYC’s Uber/Lyft Drivers Comes on Heels of the Guild Winning Vision and Telemedicine Health Benefits in July
New York, NY — Today, the Independent Drivers Guild joined New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and made brief remarks before he signed historic Uber / Lyft bills into law, including the nation’s first living wage protection for Uber and Lyft drivers. The IDG waged a two year campaign for the pay protections which will give more than 65,000 hard working New York City drivers and their families a desperately needed raise – see the timeline here: https://drivingguild.org/2018/
IDG founder Jim Conigliaro, Jr, who has been organizing drivers in this industry since he was sixteen alongside his father with the Machinists Union, told the Mayor and city officials, “Truth is, throughout my time, the City Council and the TLC turned their backs on the black car industry, profiting from its labor while drivers struggled to survive. But this Council, this Mayor and this TLC are changing things.” Conigliaro Jr. also called on the city to stop predatory leasing practices and pass benefit fund legislation to ensure drivers a broader social safety net in addition to the historic vision and health telemedicine benefits the IDG won for drivers this summer through the Black Car Fund.
IDG Member and Uber driver Aziz Bah also spoke, thanking the mayor, the council and the TLC and urging them to always “put the drivers first.”
IDG Fair Pay Campaign: By The Numbers
16,000 petition signatures
7,400 emails to city officials
>1750 phone calls to city officials
304 IDG members/ drivers demonstrated at City Hall in April, including a vehicle caravan over the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall
4,000 flyers distributed
615 drivers signed the first sign-on letter in July 2016
Below is the prepared testimony of Conigliaro, Jr (see video here):
Testimony of Jim Conigliaro Jr., President and Founder
The Independent Drivers Guild
Before Mayor Bill de Blasio
Public Hearing on Introductory Numbers 890-B, 144-B and 838-C
City Hall, August 14, 2018
Good afternoon, Mayor de Blasio, Council Members, my name is Jim Conigliaro, Jr. and I am speaking today as the founder of the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG), and representative of the Machinists Union (IAM), which the IDG is an affiliate of. We represent and advocate for 65,000 Uber, Lyft, Juno, and Via drivers. Ninety percent of our members are immigrants representing 190 countries and fighting for the American dream. And on behalf of our members, we support this historic package of bills.
I have been organizing black car drivers with my father and the Machinists Union since I was 16. Over the years, we had some success unionizing black car drivers but we were never able to make broader change for all drivers. Never had a voice with the people making the rules.
Truth is, throughout my time, the City Council and the TLC turned their backs on the black car industry, profiting from its labor while drivers struggled to survive. But this Council, this Mayor and this TLC are changing things.
Under the IDG umbrella, and along with all the driver-activists that are here today, the hundreds that turned out during committee meetings, and the over 16,000 drivers that signed the IDG petition demanding a living wage, drivers finally have a voice to make that broad regulatory change. That voice led to the passage of 890-B, requiring the basic protection of a living wage for hard-working drivers and their families who have seen their incomes and quality of life plummet while the app-based companies revenues and profits have soared to record levels.
I want to thank the Mayor and his team — TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi, Jon Paul Lupo and Jeff Lynch; Speaker Corey Johnson and his staff, especially Laura Popa and her team; and Council Members Brad Lander, Steven Levin and their staff for listening to drivers and inviting the IDG to the table on these historic bills.
But we can’t stop here.
It is essential New York City caps leasing costs as soon as possible. App-Based companies will continue nonstop hiring with false promises and this has already led to higher leasing costs.
And while the IDG is successfully expanding the benefits available to drivers through the state’s Black Car Fund, further expansion of the Social Safety Net on the City level is essential.
It’s a new day, but we have a lot of catching up to do in this industry.
Thank you Mr. Mayor, and of course, on behalf of IDG and IAM, I respectfully request that you sign the package of bills before you today.
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