The Independent Drivers Guild is a Machinists Union affiliate that represents over 80,000 For-Hire Vehicle drivers in New York City and advocates for more than 200,000 across NY, NJ, and CT. The IDG is the first nonprofit worker center to negotiate a seat at the table with a rideshare company and the first to offer crucial new protections and essential benefits while building worker power.
We are drivers in solidarity fighting for a better work environment. Together we are a powerful force to win driver-friendly policies. Together we have contact with hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers daily. Together we are a service that generates millions of dollars. With driver activism and solidarity we will win—and can drive with dignity.
We believe that the power of workers banding together. With the Guild, we can band together and win better working conditions and increase working drivers’ earnings now. If you’re a working driver in NYC, become a voting member, join a committee and let’s get organizing.
Why did the Machinists Union Start the Guild?
For many Americans, benefits like paid time off, health insurance and retirement plans are taken for granted. But in some industries, such as the black car industry and the “gig economy,” workers are denied such benefits.
For twenty years, the Machinists Union (IAMAW District 15) has been a leading advocate for drivers in New York City, and to date is the only worker center to win representation with black car drivers. Drivers in the black car industry have long been deemed independent contractors and typically denied employee benefits and protections like health insurance, workers’ compensation, and retirement benefits. So drivers united with the Machinists to organize Elite Limousine in the late 1990s. This campaign led to a landmark decision that granted Elite’s “independent drivers” the right to organize and form a guild for the purpose of collective bargaining. As a result, the guild achieved the industry’s first pension and health benefits offered to black car drivers.
The Machinists also led the charge to create the New York Black Car Workers’ Compensation Fund that was created to assist drivers during their time of need, even though they’re legally classified as independent contractors. The Fund compensates injured drivers while they are hurt and unable to work. In addition, the Fund offers Defensive Driving and Health and Wellness courses that pay drivers up to $300 to attend. More information here.
Because of the changing industry spearheaded by Uber, many drivers who were previously represented by the IAMAW are now app-based black car drivers. Those drivers were left with no seat at the table, no voice in the workplace, and no basic protections.
The Independent Drivers Guild is changing all that.
For over two years, drivers urged the Machinists Union to represent them to increase their earnings, benefits, and protections. In late 2015, the Machinists Union entered negotiations with Uber and announced the formation of the IDG in May 2016.
The Guild brings immediate protection, discounts on key benefits and much needed support to drivers—as well as a platform to further improve working conditions, earnings and benefits.
The International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers are the people moving North America.