News

Lyft caves on minimum-wage rules

As featured in Crains New York

Mounting pressure from drivers forces company’s hand

By: Matthew Flamm

Lyft, the San Francisco-based ride-hail service, is learning the hard way that you can’t fight City Hall.

The company announced Wednesday that it would begin paying drivers according to the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s new minimum-wage regulations that it sought to block with a lawsuit only last week.

The suit against the TLC, filed in New York state Supreme Court, failed to obtain an injunction. But in a motion posted Friday morning, Judge Andrea Masley told the company it could pay drivers according to its own rate card and put the raise in escrow while the suit was pending. The next court date is March 18.

That solution quickly proved unworkable as driver protests mounted and Lyft rivals Uber and Via agreed to raise their drivers’ pay immediately.

The new rules require that drivers earn an hourly minimum of $27.86, which comes to $17.22 after expenses (the equivalent of a $15 minimum wage, factoring in payroll taxes and paid leave), with the pay calculated on a per-trip basis. The raise averages out to about $9,600 a year.

By late Friday, Lyft had announced it would pay drivers the amount required by the TLC rather than put money into escrow, but the raise would be distributed over the course of a week. That would allow the company to charge less for rides during periods of low demand and add incentives to keep drivers on the road when demand picked up.

The problem with that approach was that drivers felt they were being shortchanged, because the incentives were considered part of their pay, not an addition to their minimum, as was intended under the rules.

The Independent Drivers Guild, which represents app-based drivers and has led the campaign for a raise, launched a petition demanding that Lyft and Juno—which also sued the TLC—follow the new rules. It collected more than 2,500 signatures.

Lyft told the group on Wednesday that it would pay drivers any back pay they are owed dating to Feb. 1, the day the rules took effect. Juno has not responded to requests for comment.

For the complete article, please visit:  https://www.crainsnewyork.com/transportation/lyft-caves-minimum-wage-rules

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New Benefits

Learn today if you’re eligible for new and free benefits through Drivers Benefits by filling out the online eligibility form here. You can also call the Drivers Benefits hotline at 833-814-8590.

What are the benefits?

Drivers vision: Free eye exam and glasses benefit paid for by The Black Car Fund.

Drivers Telemedicine: Call a doctor for a consultation any time, day or night, paid for by The Black Car Fund. Free translators in your native language can be provided on request. 

Click here to learn more about the benefits that are available.

News

Uber and Lyft Drivers Guild: Stop Double Jeopardy Tickets

New York City Council Vote is Today

Today, the Independent Drivers Guild is calling on New York City Council Members to vote to end the unfair practice of double ticketing for-hire vehicle drivers for the same violation. The Committee on Governmental Operations, Chaired by Fernando Cabrera, will be holding a hearing to vote on Intro 748-A and if passed, the bill is likely to go to the full City Council for a vote in the stated meeting at 1:30pm today.

Currently, drivers for apps like Uber and Lyft are being ticketed and fined by DOT for a violation, paying to fight or settle that ticket, and then months later they are ticketed again for the same exact violation by the Taxi and Limousine Commission. The Independent Drivers Guild has lobbied to end this unfair practice that is harming drivers who already face exorbitant fees and expenses. Intro 748-A requires judges and hearing officers to dismiss a duplicate notice of violation.

“Double ticketing for-hire vehicle drivers for the same violation is blatantly unfair. One department of the city cannot be allowed to fine a driver again after another department has already adjudicated or reached a settlement for the same alleged violation,” said Jim Conigliaro, founder of the Independent Drivers Guild. “Double ticketing is a scam that targets those who can least afford it and we are pleased to see the City Council take up a vote to right this wrong. We urge passage of Intro 748-A.”

The city’s official summary of Intro 748-A is as follows:

This bill would establish certain procedural requirements in relation to violations of New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) laws or regulations adjudicated by the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH). The bill would require that a TLC representative would be required to be present at hearings, either in person or remotely; that a respondent could appear remotely, through internet video; that OATH could reduce a violation, if it finds doing so to be in the interests of justice, subject to a review by TLC; that any duplicate notice of violation should be automatically dismissed and, finally, it would establish hearing timeliness requirements to facilitate prompt adjudication of violations.

The Independent Drivers Guild has also opposed a new New York State congestion tax on for-hire vehicles that will take effect in January and raise the average per trip tax to $5 per trip on app-based vehicles like Uber and Lyft with trips that enter Manhattan below 96th St. The same $20 fare would be taxed at a little over $3 per trip in taxis. See the IDG’s analysis of that upcoming tax here. The Guild has called for state legislators to repeal and replace that unfair tax.

Media Contact: [email protected]

News

Uber and Lyft Drivers Guild: Stop Double Jeopardy Tickets

NYC City Council Vote is Today

Today, the Independent Drivers Guild is calling on New York City Council Members to vote to end the unfair practice of double ticketing for-hire vehicle drivers for the same violation. The Committee on Governmental Operations, Chaired by Fernando Cabrera, will be holding a hearing to vote on Intro 748-A and if passed, the bill is likely to go to the full City Council for a vote in the stated meeting today.

Currently, drivers for apps like Uber and Lyft are being ticketed and fined by DOT for a violation, paying to fight or settle that ticket, and then months later they are ticketed again for the same exact violation by the Taxi and Limousine Commission. The Independent Drivers Guild has lobbied to end this unfair practice that is harming drivers who already face exorbitant fees and expenses. Intro 748-A requires judges and hearing officers to dismiss a duplicate notice of violation.

“Double ticketing for-hire vehicle drivers for the same violation is blatantly unfair. One department of the city cannot be allowed to fine a driver again after another department has already adjudicated or reached settlement for the same alleged violation,” said Jim Conigliaro, founder of the Independent Drivers Guild. “Double ticketing is a scam that targets those who can least afford it and we are pleased to see the City Council take up a vote to right this wrong. We urge passage of Intro 748-A.”

The city’s official summary of Intro 748-A is as follows:

This bill would establish certain procedural requirements in relation to violations of New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) laws or regulations adjudicated by the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH). The bill would require that a TLC representative would be required to be present at hearings, either in person or remotely; that a respondent could appear remotely, through internet video; that OATH could reduce a violation, if it finds doing so to be in the interests of justice, subject to a review by TLC; that any duplicate notice of violation should be automatically dismissed and, finally, it would establish hearing timeliness requirements to facilitate prompt adjudication of violations.

The Independent Drivers Guild has also opposed a new New York State congestion tax on for-hire vehicles that will take effect in January and raise the average per trip tax to $5 per trip on app-based vehicles like Uber and Lyft with trips that enter Manhattan below 96th St. The same $20 fare would be taxed at a little over $3 per trip in taxis. See the IDG’s analysis of that upcoming tax here. The Guild has called for state legislators to repeal and replace that unfair tax.

Media Contact: [email protected]

News

NYC Sets Nation’s First Minimum Wage for App-Based Drivers

After a two year worker-led campaign by the Independent Drivers Guild, New York City officials voted Tuesday morning to set the nation’s first minimum pay rate for app-based drivers. The rate is set at $17.22 per hour after expenses ($26.51 per hour gross), which the city Taxi and Limousine Commission calculated as the contractor equivalent of New York City’s employee minimum wage of $15 per hour (effective 12/31/18). The rules come in response to a massive campaign by the IDG including a petition signed by 16,000 drivers and many months of rallies, research, and lobby days as well as thousands of calls and letters to city officials. The pay rules will go into effect in 30 days and will bring desperately needed relief to more than 70,000 working families who are struggling to get by on the current pay rate of $11.90 per hour after expenses. The new pay floor will raise driver pay by over $9,600 per year, according to the commission’s analysis.

“Today we brought desperately needed relief to 80,000 working families. All workers deserve the protection of a fair, livable wage and we are proud to be setting the new bar for contractor workers’ rights in America,” said Jim Conigliaro, Jr., founder of the Independent Drivers Guild. “We are thankful to the Mayor, Commissioner Joshi and the Taxi and Limousine Commission, City Council Member Brad Lander and all of the city officials who listened to and stood up for drivers.”

“I’m proud that my bill will make New York City the first major U.S. city to establish a minimum pay standard and living wage requirement for Uber and Lyft drivers,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “I’m thrilled the TLC is voting to finalize the rules today, which will protect drivers, level the playing field and support accessibility. Huge thanks to the Independent Drivers Guild for organizing tirelessly around this issue and for ringing the alarm bell on driver pay.”

“People told us we could never win, not against billion dollar companies like Uber and Lyft. But we proved that when workers come together, nothing is impossible,” said IDG member and driver for apps like Uber and Lyft Hailing “Henry” Chen.

In the two years since the Independent Drivers Guild first called on the city to establish a pay floor, the Guild has waged a massive, worker-led campaign. See the timeline here. More than 16,000 drivers signed the IDG’s petition to require a minimum pay rate for apps like Uber and Lyft. To force action, the IDG filed a formal rulemaking petition in March and the city responded in May that it planned to act on pay rules this summer. In August, the city council passed and Mayor de Blasio signed legislation sponsored by Council Member Brad Lander requiring the Taxi and Limousine Commission to set minimum payments for drivers for high volume app-based for-hire vehicle services like Uber and Lyft.

The new rules include the following policies originally proposed by the IDG:

The IDG used the same regulatory and legislative tactics to require Uber to add a tipping option to the app last year. Just months after the city greenlighted the IDG’s proposed tipping rules in April 2017, Uber added an in-app tipping option not only for New York City (its biggest market) but for drivers across the U.S.

The IDG has also won first of their kind benefits for app-based and Black Car drivers, securing vision and 24/7 telemedicine health benefits this summer, as well as a death benefit for drivers killed on the job and free flu shots.

The Independent Drivers Guild is an affiliate of the Machinists Union which has represented and organized Black Car drivers for more than 20 years in New York City. We are Uber, Lyft, Juno, and Via drivers united for a fair for-hire vehicle industry.

IDG Fair Pay Campaign: By The Numbers

 

News | Press Releases

Tuesday AM Uber, Lyft Drivers Rally Ahead of Vote on Landmark Livable Wage: Vote for Fair Pay

Drivers Guild Led Two Year Campaign for Fair Pay, Would Mean Raise of over $9,000/yr for More than 70,000 Drivers — Starting in 30 Days

 

New York, New York — On Tuesday morning at 8:30 AM, members of the Independent Drivers Guild will hold a rally calling for fair pay ahead of the vote of New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission on the final pay rules for app-based for-hire vehicle drivers. Drivers will also thank the TLC for putting forward the landmark rules for a vote. The commission will convene at 10 AM to vote on the final rules.

 

The IDG, which represents and advocates for more than 70,000 app-based drivers in New York City, petitioned for and has led a two year campaign for the rules which would set a pay floor for drivers for the first time and require that drivers be paid “out of town pay” for return trips to the city after providing an out of town ride. As contractors, app-based drivers are not protected by minimum wage laws in the U.S. In New York City, drivers currently make $11.90 per hour in take home pay after expenses according to the updated city analysis urged by the IDG, well under the city’s minimum wage (currently $13, but will be $15 starting 12/31/18). If passed, the proposed rules will go into effect in 30 days and raise pay by at least $9,600 per year for 90 percent of the drivers for high volume app-based for-hire vehicle services in the city (Uber, Lyft, Via and Juno) according to the TLC.

What: “Vote for Fair Pay” Rally
When: 8:30 AM
Where: Outside 33 Beaver St, NYC (TLC Headquarters)
Who: Members of the Independent Drivers Guild – We are Uber, Lyft, Juno and Via Drivers united for a more fair industry

See Timeline of the Campaign and what’s new in the final version of the rules here.

“This vote has been a long time coming. Thousands of drivers have rallied, lobbied, petitioned, made calls, and flyered over the last two years to get to this point. More than 80,000 families in our city depend on the earnings of an app-based driver. We cannot allow Silicon Valley companies to exploit hard working New Yorkers with sub minimum wage pay. Passing these rules will help thousands of working families and send a clear message that New York stands up for worker rights,” said Jim Conigliaro, Jr., President of the Independent Drivers Guild, an affiliate of the Machinists Union which has represented and organized Black Car drivers for more than 20 years in New York City. 

More than 16,000 drivers signed the IDG’s petition to require a minimum pay rate for apps like Uber and Lyft. To force action, the IDG filed a formal rulemaking petition in March and the city responded in May that it planned to act on pay rules this summer. In August, the city council passed and Mayor de Blasio signed legislation sponsored by Council Member Brad Lander requiring the Taxi and Limousine Commission to set minimum payments for drivers for high volume app-based for-hire vehicle services like Uber and Lyft. The IDG used the same regulatory and legislative tactics to require Uber to add a tipping option to the app last year. Just months after the city greenlighted the IDG’s proposed tipping rules in April 2017, Uber added an in-app tipping option not only for New York City (its biggest market) but for drivers across the U.S.

 

The Independent Drivers Guild is an affiliate of the Machinists Union which has represented and organized Black Car drivers for more than 20 years in New York City. We are Uber, Lyft, Juno, and Via drivers united for a fair for-hire vehicle industry.

News

TLC proposes raising driver pay

Great news – thanks to you, the TLC is proposing deadhead pay and an even higher pay raise than they first proposed!

We told the TLC that their expense data was wrong. More than 500 of you helped us prove it by telling us how much your lease or rental costs. Over 100 of you showed up to the October hearing in your red IDG shirts to tell them face to face — and the TLC listened.

Based on our expense data, the TLC is increasing the minimum amount drivers must be paid per mile. Their new calculation will raise most drivers’ pay over $9,000 a year.

We told the TLC we need deadhead pay. More than 16,000 of you signed the petition calling for this pay raise and deadhead pay. We included it in our proposal back in the Fall of 2017 and in our formal rulemaking petition to the TLC, back in February. When it was missing from the TLC’s draft rules, we demanded it.

They heard us and have told us they are creating a new minimum pay rate for out-of-town trips to protect our pay.

We told the TLC to prohibit companies from making us slaves to incentives: that the pay floor must be the floor for every trip – not an average of what they pay out to all drivers over the course of a day, week, or month. We urged the TLC to ensure that no trip could be less than the minimum and any incentives would be on TOP of this pay floor so we can have a predictable wage and not just be slaves to the companies’ manipulative incentives.

They agreed and clarified that every trip counts.

These wins are huge, and wouldn’t have been possible without our hard work. We showed up, we made our voices heard, and now we’ve made dramatic changes for the better in our industry. This win belongs to all of us. Congratulations.

News

Support Fair Leasing

Earlier this week, New York City drivers achieved a dramatic victory in the passage of new worker-friendly laws. These new rules will ensure fair pay and will slow the over-hiring by Uber and Lyft.

But there is a new fight ahead. The truth is because of taxi influence, the City Council did not listen to our demand for a driver cap, and instead implemented a temporary cap on vehicles. Because of that, we expect huge increases in leasing costs to be already underway.

Join us in calling for City Council to end predatory leasing here.

We have to stand together and demand a seat at the table to fight back. Together, we can show City Council the truth.

Sign the petition to demand fair leasing prices.

If your leasing company attempts to raise the cost of your lease, let us know. Send us screenshots or photos of the cost of your lease. Sign the petition if you want to make sure all drivers are treated fairly.

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Timeline of FHV Drivers’ Struggle for Fair Pay

Timeline of IDG’s campaign for a regulated minimum pay rate and a cap on new TLC drivers

June-July 2016

The IDG formally raised the issue of fare regulation to the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) when the TLC proposed limiting the number of hours drivers could work. After polling drivers on the proposed 12 hour rule, the IDG argued that before limiting work hours, there must first be pay protection rules in place to ensure drivers could make a living.

Shortly after the IDG’s May launch, we sent a letter to TLC President Meera Joshi on June 23, 2016 in opposition to the proposed rule to limit driver hours without taking measures to maintain driver pay. In July 2016, the IDG also submitted the signatures of 615 drivers who signed on to the letter calling for a livable pay floor before capping driver hours. The IDG reinforced this position to the TLC when they attended an IDG meeting with drivers at IDG offices (in late 2016).

Fall 2016

The IDG worked with the TLC to provide solutions to improve driver pay. IDG made members available for interview with the TLC to discuss their earnings, expenses and their daily struggles to make ends meet. IDG gave suggestions for survey questions the TLC should consider.

December 2016

The first TLC survey on driver pay was launched.

February 2017

The IDG discussed the need for livable wage rules in letter and petition to TLC on tipping

April 2017

IDG drivers sent 1,500 emails on the IDG platform to TLC in April and made hundreds of calls to TLC on fair pay agenda:

IDG called for transparent mile and minute pay protected from commission and other charges at a TLC hearing attended by 60 drivers.

The IDG released its pay survey data and demands

Press release

The TLC responded in favor of IDG’s tipping petition and also noted their agreement with the IDG’s call for livable wage rules.

The NYT Editorial Board cited IDG stats on pay.

May 2017

IDG launched a pay petition and spent the next several months gathering signatures.

Summer and Fall 2017

IDG continued to collect driver data on pay and conducted research to support pay rules.

November 2017

IDG released formal pay proposal with the support of 8,000 drivers signatures.

February 2018

IDG member Doug Schifter took his own life in front of City Hall. While Schifter was neither the first, nor the last driver to die by suicide as a result of economic hardship, it was the first to garner widespread media attention.

After more than a year of discussion and research, the IDG launched a formal rulemaking petition to put pressure on the TLC for timely action.

March 2018

IDG President Jim Conigliaro, Jr. published an op-ed in Crains pleading with the industry to stop scapegoating drivers for New York’s transportation problems.

The IDG released an explainer on why capping the number of TLC licenses is a labor-friendly alternative to the proposed cap on vehicles.

April – May 2018

300 FHV drivers staged a funeral caravan over Brooklyn Bridge on the way to City Hall to protest the punitive Diaz Bill (Intro 838-a). Driver-activists called for pay protections instead of a law that would drive them deeper into poverty.

The IDG launched digital ad campaign reinforcing their opposition of Intro 838-a and demands for pay protections.

IDG member and allies flyered City Hall and sent nearly 4,000 phone calls and emails to the TLC in opposition of the Diaz Bill and continue to demand driver pay reform.

FHV driver and IDG Steward Aziz Bah published an op-ed in the New York Daily News describing his financial struggles and the need for better pay.

May 2018

The TLC responded to the IDG pay petition and stated they plan to put forward pay proposal in two months.

The New York Times and New York Daily News editorialize in favor of establishing a regulated livable wage for drivers and a cap on app fees.

June 2018

IDG members and allies made more than 200 calls to City Council in 36 hours in a continued effort to demand fair pay and an end to the Diaz bill. To make an even more direct case, they held a lobby day and a flyer Day in City Council district offices to address City Council members and staff in person.

July 2018

Taxi and Limousine released their proposed rules in reaction to our demands which would effectively create a 22% raise for 85% of IDG members.

August 2018

After months of IDG rallies and lobby days, the city council passed and Mayor de Blasio signed legislation sponsored by Councilman Brad Lander requiring the Taxi and Limousine Commission to set minimum payments for drivers for high volume app-based for-hire vehicle services like Uber and Lyft.


October 2018

The TLC held a hearing on rules to set the nation’s first pay floor for Uber and Lyft drivers after years-long driver campaign. More than 100 IDG members attend the hearing, packing the room in red shirts, to urge the TLC to raise the pay floor further, add out of town trip pay, and then quickly pass the rules. The IDG provided the TLC with a new report of vehicle expense data from more than 500 drivers to prove that expenses are significantly higher than the Commission’s original assumptions.

November 30, 2018

The TLC posts final proposed rules on FHV pay and announces the vote will be on 12/4.
What’s new:

News

Tell Councilman Paul Vallone: We Need Fair Pay For Drivers

We’ve taken to the streets to protest the Diaz Bill (Intro 838) that threatened to tax us $2,000 a year and eliminate our ability to work for multiple companies. Nevertheless, some members, of the City Council have refused to meet with IDG representatives. Paul Vallone is one them.

Call Paul Vallone at 1-833-290-1102, or by clicking this link, and tell him to protect driver pay.

After you are connected, follow the script:

Hi, my name is ___________ and I’m a For-hire Vehicle Driver and member of the Independent Drivers Guild, the organization that represents over 65,000 app-based professional drivers in NYC. I’m calling to ask why Councilman Vallone refuses to meet with us to talk about the Diaz Bill. Councilman Vallone is a member of the For Hire Vehicle committee, and every other member has met with us. His office can schedule a meeting by calling us at 718-841-7330. Thank you, have a nice day.