Press Releases

More than 8,000 NYC Drivers Sign Petition for Pay Raise and End to Price Gouging on Uber, Lyft

New IDG Analysis Exposes How Ride Hail Apps Are Gouging Riders and Drivers

New York, NY — After years of pay cuts, New York’s ride-hail drivers are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet. The Independent Drivers Guild, a Machinists Union affiliate which represents and advocates for more than 60,000 of these drivers, has garnered over 8,000 signatures on a petition to increase driver pay and end price gouging in the ride hail industry.

The Guild also released a new analysis of driver pay which found that drivers are making significantly less than they were just a few years ago — and companies are pocketing more. The Guild also found that drivers are working longer and longer hours in an attempt to make up the difference, but are still unable to make ends meet. The Guild report proposes corrective policies to end price gouging and raise driver compensation by 37 percent to levels to promote safe driving and bring income in line with prior pay rates.

“After offering attractive rates at the outset, Uber and Lyft repeatedly reduced driver pay and hiked their cut of each fare, violating and voiding rider and driver agreements again and again. They have slashed the earning potential for drivers dramatically and redirected the profits from New Yorkers’ labor out of our community and into the coffers of privately held multinational corporations,” said Ryan Price, Executive Director of the Independent Drivers Guild.

“Uber and Lyft really pulled a bait and switch on riders and drivers alike. Riders are being overcharged and drivers who already invested their savings and took out loans to join the industry have been left with little choice but to work longer and longer hours to try to make ends meet. Action is needed for the protection of our community and the safety of our streets,” said Sohail Rana, a driver and member of the Guild’s Pay Organizing Committee.

A recent Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) survey of New York City drivers found that 73 percent of workers who had been in the industry for at least a year reported their financial well being was worse now than had been previously and 73 percent of drivers worked more than 10 hours on their most recent shift.

More than 8,000 drivers have signed on to a petition in support of the three major tenets of the Guild’s proposal:

1. A minimum pay raise for New York City drivers of 37 percent across all platforms including Uber, Lyft, Juno, and Via. That would make the pay rates for UberX minimally: $2.3526 per trip, $1.6145 per mile, $0.3229 per minute.

Currently, drivers’ mean work day of 11 hours is 37 percent above 8 hours: the basic right of a maximum work day. A minimum pay scale based on a 37 percent increase over current rates would also return driver compensation to be nearer the rates offered a few years ago.

Here is a side by side comparison of a sample five mile, thirty minute Uber ride in New York City in 2013, today and under the IDG’s proposal:


Rider Pays Driver Pay
2013 $28.50 $20.25
2017 Varies* $14.68
IDG Proposal $27.42 $20.11

*Passenger fare is no longer bound to actual mileage or minutes traveled.

2. A maximum commission. Currently, apps can charge passengers more than double what a worker is paid, and the Guild’s report has examples of just that. Uber and other companies must not charge passengers over 25 percent more than the worker is paid. This would prevent price gouging and return commissions to the maximum rates previously detailed in user agreements.

3. Return trip to NYC pay (known in the industry as “deadhead pay”)—drivers must be paid for the trip back to New York City while no passenger is in the car. Failure to pay drivers for return trips is unfair and costly to workers and puts workers’ compensation insurance and other insurance coverage in jeopardy.

The full report and proposal to improve pay is available at drivingguild.org/progress

The Guild’s pay proposal comes on the heels of its victory winning a tipping option for all for hire vehicle drivers in New York City. As a first step to addressing years of pay cuts, members of the Independent Drivers Guild organized and won a New York City law and a Taxi and Limousine Commission rule which forced Uber, Via and all black car companies to offer a tipping option to their apps or other payment methods. The Guild’s proposed rule was greenlighted by the city in April 2017 and by the end of July Uber added a tipping option to the app for drivers in New York City (its largest U.S. market) and across the nation. In the Guild’s tipping rule proposal, the IDG also called for broader pay protection rules and the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission noted its agreement that regulatory pay protections were needed in its official response.

Since its launch in May 2016, drivers with the Guild have won important protections and app improvements. Ongoing efforts include an open enrollment outreach campaign to help drivers sign up for health coverage as well as efforts to improve restroom access for drivers in Manhattan and at area airport lots.

Drivers who wish to learn more about the IDG can visit DrivingGuild.org or text DRIVE to 64336 to learn more (msg and data rates may apply).

The Independent Drivers Guild is a Machinists Union affiliate representing more than 60,000 app-based drivers in New York City. We are Uber, Lyft, Via, and Juno workers united for a fair for-hire vehicle industry.

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Media contact:
Press@drivingguild.org

Press Releases

ASM Robert Rodriguez and the IDG Call for Investigation into Lyft Interstate Tax Scam

New York, NY — New York State Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez and the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) are calling for the state to launch a full investigation into ride-hail app Lyft’s billing and payment practices on interstate trips. In a letter to New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Executive Deputy Commissioner Nonie Manion of New York’s Department of Taxation and Finance, Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez requested the investigation, writing that, “Lyft appears to have engaged in a large-scale deception of the very drivers and customers it claims to benefit.”

New York State’s sales tax is only supposed to be charged to passengers for rides that begin and end in New York State. However, IDG members who drive for Lyft found that the company is improperly deducting this charge as well as the Black Car Fund surcharge (BCF) from their pay on interstate trips originating in New York City. When IDG members notified Lyft of the two wrongful charges, totaling 11.4% of the fare, company representatives claimed these were not taxes but two other administrative costs that happen to mimic the rates of the NYS sales tax (8.875% in New York City) and the BCF (2.5% for the injured workers’ compensation and safety fund). At least 16,000 IDG members drive for Lyft in a given week and the service completes about 60,000 New York City trips each day per the latest TLC data from March 2017.

“On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers affected by Lyft’s tax scam, I am calling for a full investigation into the company’s practices with regard to its billing of interstate trips,” said NYS Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez, who represents Assembly District 68, comprising East Harlem and Randalls and Wards Islands. “New York must act swiftly to stop this deceit and return these ill-gotten gains to drivers and consumers. When businesses add fake taxes to wages and services, they are not just cheating workers and consumers out of hard earned dollars, they are undermining the public trust. Lyft must be held accountable”

“This is an egregious and deliberate tax scam that amounts to wage theft affecting thousands of our members. By disguising these pay deductions as state taxes, Lyft willfully deceived drivers in order to rob them of their earnings and further enrich the company,” said Ryan Price, Executive Director of the IDG, a Machinists Union affiliate which represents and advocates for 50,000 ride hail drivers in New York City. “We urge riders and workers to sign our petition calling for new rules to protect New Yorkers from this exploitation once and for all, and call on Lyft to come to the table to negotiate with our members for basic rights and a dialogue with management.”

“We are calling on New York State to investigate the taxation and interstate billing practices of Lyft, Uber, Juno and other ride hail apps as well,” added Price. “From shady tax schemes to upfront pricing, Uber, Lyft and Juno all seem to be deploying underhanded accounting tactics that are robbing hard working drivers and riders of millions in hard earned wages. Assembly Member Rodriguez has been fighting for consumer protections to combat deceptive business practices for years and we are thankful to him for standing with New York’s drivers and consumers.”

In April, the Independent Drivers Guild called on New York City regulators to enact pay protections across the ride hail industry, including to protect driver pay from taxes and surcharges and to grant drivers the right to appeal when a company underpays or steals money from a worker for a completed service. The Guild’s petition for these rules has garnered more than 800 signers. IDG members sent the TLC over 1500 emails calling for these pay protections and 60 members attended an April TLC hearing to demand these protections.

Nine in ten New York City ride-hail drivers are immigrants and most IDG members report driving full time. The majority of our members report household incomes of less than $50,000 per year before expenses (gas, lease, insurance and licensing fees etc.) all while working to support their families in one of the most expensive areas of the country.

The New York State sales tax and BCF surcharge are listed as “surcharge” deductions from the driver’s pay on interstate trips — the exact same way they are listed on New York City to New York City trips:

The New York State sales tax and BCF surcharge are listed the exact same way on New York City to New York City trips:

The Guild is an IAMAW affiliate representing app-based drivers. We are Uber, Lyft, Via, Juno, Gett workers united for a fair for-hire vehicle industry.

For any media inquiries, please contact Moira Muntz at press@drivingguild.org

Press Releases

Drivers Guild Calls on FTC to Investigate Juno’s Illegal Deception of Drivers

New Petition: Stop The Deception: Tell the TLC to Protect Drivers’ Pay

New York, NY — Today, the Independent Driver Guild (IDG) filed a formal complaint against Juno and Gett with the Federal Trade Commission for deliberately and egregiously misleading both current and prospective Juno drivers with false claims that drivers would share in Juno’s success through its “Restrictive Stock Units” (RSU) program. The IDG also requested a full investigation into when Juno first learned that its RSU program was potentially illegal. If the company failed to inform drivers and continued to lie to current and prospective drivers after learning the program might be illegal, that is a violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act which prohibits “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce” including misrepresentations or deceptive omissions of material facts. Read the full complaint here: http://drivingguild.org/juno- ftc-letter-1/

The IDG also launched a petition today urging New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission to stop the exploitation of drivers once and for all by enacting industry-wide protections. Those protections include regulated minimum pay, protection against oversaturation of vehicles, and the right to appeal if a company underpays or fails to pay a driver for a completed service.

The IDG is an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and represents and advocates for 50,000 ride-hail drivers in New York City, including approximately 20,000 members who have driven for app-based for-hire vehicle company Juno. Juno recruited drivers with the promise of equity in the company only to sell the company to Gett without sharing proceeds with the drivers. The IDG found that Juno was contacted by the Securities and Exchange Commission about the RSU program several months before the company’s April sale and may have misled drivers for months until they could sell the company. IDG members who drive for Juno asked the IDG to step in to hold the company accountable.

“Juno misled drivers on both the company’s intention to share a stake with drivers and the value of the shares program. Working drivers played an indispensable role in building Juno and should share in the company’s success and sale proceeds as promised,” said Ryan Price, Executive Director of the Independent Drivers Guild. “The Federal Trade Commission held Uber accountable for their lies about driver pay and now we are seeking their help in holding Juno accountable as well.”

“Juno’s shameful deception of drivers is just the latest in a long history of broken promises and shady tactics in this industry. Year after year, companies like Uber, Lyft, Juno and Gett become more valuable on the backs of hard-working New Yorkers who lack the basic protection of a minimum wage. Drivers need industry-wide protections to stop the exploitation once and for all,” said IDG founder Jim Conigliaro Jr. “Drivers keep our city moving and we are asking customers and drivers alike to sign on to our petition for basic protections in an industry that has run amok.”

Many for hire vehicle drivers have no access to traditional worker protections like retirement plans, group health insurance, or even paid time off. Nine in ten New York City ride-hail drivers are immigrants and most IDG members drive full time. The majority of our members report household incomes of less than $50,000 per year before expenses (gas, lease, insurance and licensing fees etc.) all while working to support their families in one of the most expensive areas of the country. Learn more here: http://drivingguild.org/wp-co ntent/uploads/2017/04/IDG-flye r-2.pdf

The Guild is an IAMAW affiliate representing app-based drivers. We are Uber, Lyft, Via, Juno, Gett workers united for a fair for-hire vehicle industry.


For any media inquiries, please contact Moira Muntz at press@drivingguild.org

Press Releases

The Independent Drivers Guild Celebrates Tipping Victory Over Uber

Rule Means Raise of $300 Million for NYC Drivers
NYC Green Lights Drivers’ Proposal to Require Uber Tipping Option

New York, NY –Today, New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) sided with drivers in their push to require ride-hail apps to offer an in-app tipping option as a first step to protect working drivers in an industry known for misleading drivers about earnings and deploying invasive and exploitative tactics. The TLC granted the petition from the Independent Drivers Guild to create a rule that would force Uber, the app with the largest market share in the city, to conform to industry standards. The Guild estimates the rule will mean an additional $300 million per year for New York City drivers.

The Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) is an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers which represents and advocates for 50,000 ride-hail drivers in New York City. See the IDG tipping fact sheet here: http://drivingguild.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/IDG-flyer-2.pdf

“Today’s decision is a vitally important step forward for drivers. In-app tipping will mean a raise of hundreds of millions of dollars for New York City drivers each year. Drivers have long been denied access to the kinds of benefits and labor protections many workers take for granted, such as paid sick leave or the minimum wage. As a result, New York City’s professional drivers have traditionally depended on gratuities for a substantial portion of their income. Cuts to driver pay across the ride-hail industry has made tipping income more important than ever,” said IDG founder Jim Conigliaro, Jr. “The exploitation of ride-hail drivers must end and this is an important first step. We thank Chairman Joshi and the commission for holding Uber to the same standard as the rest of the industry on tipping and look forward to working together on further reforms to protect our city’s working drivers. We also thank the many city leaders, labor unions and community organizations that stood with drivers and advocated for this critical measure.”

More than a dozen City Council members joined with city leaders, labor unions and community organizations in backing the Guild’s proposed rule and more than 11,000 supporters signed IDG’s tipping option petition. Guild members called the TLC more than 800 times and sent the TLC nearly 1800 emails advocating for the tipping rule. At a TLC hearing on April 6, 55 members of the Independent Drivers Guild testified and demanded action from the TLC to approve the tipping rule and protect drivers’ wages from the exploitative practices of ride-hail companies.

“Today’s victory is more proof that thousands of drivers coming together with one voice can make big changes,” said Uber driver and IDG member Jose Molina. “Tips will bring immediate relief to families like mine, but it’s not just about drivers. Allowing tipping on the app will make tipping much easier for passengers and it will give drivers more incentive to go above and beyond in providing top notch service.”

“When Uber came to town several years ago making big promises about higher earnings and more freedom, I left my job as a dispatch manager to drive for Uber. They led riders and drivers alike to believe that the fares would cover the gratuities that always made up a big part of driver pay, but that’s not what happened. In the years that followed, pay cuts stacked up and I found myself having to work longer hours away from my family to make the same money I did when I started. Allowing drivers to earn tips is an important step to help drivers increase their earning potential,” said IDG member and Uber driver Luiny Tavares.

Other Guild initiatives have led to changes in the Uber app not just for New York City but beyond, such as the destination filter or “take me home” option which the Guild asked for and Uber implemented in most major markets allowing drivers to pick up fares heading their way at the end of a shift. So other cities have been watching the tipping campaign closely, with CA advocates recently proposing a bill to require a tipping option.

The Guild’s tipping push first launched last summer after tipping was named the top issue of concern in an early survey of its membership. Drivers with the Guild brought the issue to Uber management in June 2016, at the first of their regular “works council” meetings negotiated by the Guild and IAMAW which gives drivers a direct line of communication to company management.

When the company refused to budge, the Guild launched the tipping campaign including an online petition and social media advertisements as well as the distribution of flyers, bar napkins, and stickers that say “tips for service are appreciated”. The campaign has had two goals: pressure Uber to add the tipping option and let passengers know tips are permitted and appreciated. Uber’s refusal to allow in-app tipping has caused rampant passenger confusion over whether tipping is permitted (it is) and whether gratuity is already included in the fare (it is not).

With no movement from Uber, the Guild escalated the campaign in February by proposing the tipping option rule and launching a social media campaign, “Star ratings don’t pay the bills,” which depicts what would happen if other service industry professionals received stars instead of tips. The social media campaign included digital advertising on social media platforms, search engines and other websites.

To be clear, this is not the final solution to enable drivers to make a living wage in New York City.The tipping campaign is one part of the Guild’s comprehensive effort to increase drivers’ earnings, reduce expenses and create protections. The Guild presented the TLC with a comprehensive set of actions that can be taken to protect ride-hail drivers and consumers.

Since the launch of the Independent Drivers Guild in May, the Guild has won important victories for drivers. New York City’s Uber drivers are the only organized drivers in the world to meet with Uber management regularly to advocate for changes and they have the best job protection of any Uber drivers in the world as well, with the unique appeals process they negotiated to fight unfair deactivations. Drivers won a $1 increase to the minimum rate, the right for drivers of luxury vehicles to opt out of the lower cost UberPOOL and UberX fares, and the creation of a destination filter in the app. The Guild also negotiated discounts for drivers on insurance and other expenses drivers face, such as legal assistance fighting unfair tickets. Ongoing, the Guild is exploring options for further benefits as well as pushing to improve restroom access for ride-hail drivers.

Most recently, the Guild won a death benefit through the Black Car Fund for the families of drivers killed on the job and successfully called on Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to step down from President Trump’s business advisory council in protest of his muslim immigration and travel ban.

Drivers can support the Independent Drivers Guild in our work to win a more fair for-hire vehicle industry by joining as a full member.


For any media inquiries, please contact Moira Muntz at press@drivingguild.org

Press Releases

Drivers react to news that Lyft Executive Joins Trump Administration

http://reut.rs/2nQfszD

“Lyft claims to be the “woke” alternative but then why are their executives off working for Trump while they cut driver pay in a race to the bottom with Uber? Lyft has refused driver council meetings that have led to favorable changes to dispatch procedures for Uber drivers and they still don’t have a process for drivers to appeal if they are kicked off the app. While their tipping policy is great, Lyft engages in the same kind of manipulation as Uber and still has a lot of work to do with drivers.” – Ryan Price, Executive Director of the Independent Drivers Guild which represents and advocates for 50,000 NYC ride-hail drivers.


For any media inquiries, please contact Moira Muntz at press@drivingguild.org

Press Releases

Drivers: It’s Time for Mayor to Choose a Side on Tipping Rule

Stringer, James, Rodriguez, City Council leaders and Labor Unions Back Tipping Rule

Scores of Ride-Hail Drivers Demand Action from TLC at Hearing

New York, NY — The Independent Drivers Guild is calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to come forward and support a rule to require ride-hail apps operating in the city to offer an in-app tipping option. The Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) is an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers which represents and advocates for 50,000 ride-hail drivers in New York City. If approved, the in-app tipping rule could mean a raise of $300 million per year for New York City’s Uber drivers.

The Guild’s proposed tipping rule has gained the support of city leaders including Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., several members of the city council including Chairperson of the Committee on Transportation Ydanis Rodriguez, labor unions including the Central Labor Council and the State AFL-CIO, ride-hailing driver organizations, immigrant rights organizations, transportation safety advocates, and other community groups. More than 10,000 supporters have signed the Guild’s online petition calling for in-app tipping.
(See growing supporter list below.)

The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) already requires taxis to offer a tipping option on electronic payments screens. While some ride-hail apps offer a tipping option (like Lyft), Uber does not. As the app with the largest share of the market, Uber’s refusal to allow in-app tipping costs drivers hundreds of millions in earnings per year.

“It’s time to hold Uber to the same standard as the rest of the industry and require a tipping option,” said IDG founder Jim Conigliaro, Jr. “We are thrilled to have the support of so many labor unions and city leaders. It’s time for Mayor de Blasio to choose a side: either he stands with Uber or he stands with working drivers. He can’t have it both ways.”

The Guild’s tipping push first launched last summer and escalated with the proposed rule and a social media campaign, “Star ratings don’t pay the bills,” which depicts what would happen if other service industry professionals received stars instead of tips. The social media campaign includes digital advertising on social media platforms, search engines and other websites.

“Tips are drivers’ bread and butter, accounting for as much as a quarter of their earnings. Uber and Lyft are in a race to the bottom, slashing driver pay. Drivers and their families need tips more than ever to get by in one of the most expensive cities in America,” added Conigliaro.

At a TLC hearing today, more than 50 members of the Independent Drivers Guild demanded action from the TLC to approve the tipping rule and protect drivers’ wages from the exploitative practices of ride-hail companies.

“The culture of exploiting and manipulating drivers is pervasive throughout the ride-hail industry,” said Ryan Price, Executive Director of the Independent Drivers Guild. “We need the TLC to help us protect this precarious workforce, along with protecting the public, rather than watching idly with their hands tied behind their back.”

Working Drivers By the Numbers:

91% of IDG members are US immigrants from more than 59 countries.
57% of IDG survey respondents reported their households make less than $50,000/year.
22% of IDG survey respondents reported their households make less than $30,000/year.
78% of IDG survey respondents drive full time (at least 30 hours per week).
56% of IDG survey respondents indicated they care for a dependent under the age of 18.

Tipping Rule Supporters Include:

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Comptroller Scott M. Stringer
Public Advocate Leticia James

Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairperson of the Committee on Transportation
Council Member Karen Koslowitz
Council Member Rory Lancman
Council Member Mark Treyger
Council Member Daneek Miller
Council Member Corey Johnson
Council Member Debi Rose
Council Member Darlene Mealy
Council Member Rafael Espinal
Council Member Robert Cornegy
Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland
Council Member Alan Maisel

Independent Drivers Guild
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO
District 15, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO
New York State AFL-CIO
New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO
Transport Workers Union, Local 100
International Union of Journeymen and Allied Trades
Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union
Utility Workers Union of America, Local 1-2
National Domestic Workers Alliance

Black Car Assistance Corporation
Pakistan News
SubContinent Peace Foundation
The Rideshare Guy
La cooperativa del taxista de NY
Transportation Alternatives
Sapna NYC


For any media inquiries, please contact Moira Muntz at press@drivingguild.org

Press Releases

Ride-Hail Drivers React to New York Times Article, Announce Flyering Event Thursday

Deadline Nears on Tipping Rule

The New York Times article: https://nyti.ms/2nPvprZ

New York, NY — On Thursday, scores of ride-hail drivers will descend on New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) to speak out about the need for drivers to receive fair pay, end oversaturation of the market, and the kinds of protections many American workers take for granted. Members of the Independent Drivers Guild will attend and speak at a TLC hearing on the economics of the For Hire Vehicle Industry Thursday at 10 AM and plan to distribute flyers ahead of the hearing calling for pay protections.

“If Uber and Lyft simply compensated drivers fairly for their time, they would not need to resort to manipulation and psychological tricks to get drivers on the road. Instead both companies have slashed driver pay in a race to the bottom, all while increasing their own cut of each fare,” said Ryan Price, Executive Director of the Independent Drivers Guild. “It’s time for working drivers to get the kinds of protections so many American workers take for granted.”

The Independent Drivers Guild, a Machinists Union affiliate which represents and advocates for 50,000 ride-hail drivers in New York City, is calling on the TLC to enact several protections for drivers including approving the Guild’s proposed rule to require all ride-hail apps operating in New York City to offer an in-app tipping option. The tipping rule, proposed by the Guild in February, has gained support from labor unions including the Central Labor Council and the State AFL-CIO, a growing list of elected officials, ride-hailing driver organizations, immigrant rights organizations, transportation safety advocates, and other community groups. More than 10,000 supporters have signed the Guild’s online petition calling for in-app tipping. The TLC faces a deadline of April 17, 2017 to decide on the rule.

Here is the list of driver demands:

1. IMMEDIATELY ACCEPT OUR PROPOSED RULE TO MANDATE A TIPPING OPTION ON APP-BASED FOR-HIRE VEHICLE TRIPS.
2. CAP TLC LICENSES AND ONLY INCREASE THE NUMBER IF THE NUMBER OF TRIPS INCREASES.
3. MANDATE COMPANIES USE AN APPEALS PROCESS FACILITATED BY THE TLC FOR FARE ADJUSTMENTS.
4. LIMIT THE NUMBER OF TLC PLATES FOR LUXURY VEHICLES.
5. REGULATE A LIVABLE MINIMUM PER-MINUTE AND PER-MILE PAY RATE THAT’S PROTECTED FROM SURCHARGES AND COMMISSIONS.

“The dismissive attitude toward drivers’ ability to make a living is nothing new. But this industry’s major profiteers can’t get away with ignoring the needs of drivers and their families anymore,” said IDG founder Jim Conigliaro, Jr. “We are fighting to increase driver earnings and tipping could put hundreds of millions of dollars in drivers pockets each year. Uber’s refusal to give passengers a tipping option has effectively slashed driver pay, making it all the more difficult for drivers and their families to get by in one of the most expensive cities in America.”


For any media inquiries, please contact Moira Muntz at press@drivingguild.org

Press Releases

Uber Drivers: “You Can’t Pay Rent With Stars”

Independent Drivers Guild Launches New Social Media Campaign in Tipping Push, Announces Union and City Council Support for Tipping Rule

New York, NY–Just days after Uber found itself embroiled in controversy for its CEO’s dismissive and disrespectful treatment of a driver who confronted him over pay cuts, Uber drivers are launching a new social media campaign to fight for a tipping option in the app. The Independent Drivers Guild (IDG), representing nearly 50,000 ride-hail drivers in New York City, unveiled the campaign as part of their push to require a tipping option for all ride-hail apps. The campaign videos, “Star ratings don’t pay the bills,” depict what would happen if other service industry professionals received stars instead of tips. The social media campaign will include digital advertising on social media platforms, search engines and other websites.

The Guild also announced broad support for its proposed rule to require an in-app tipping option in New York City, where taxis are already required to offer a tipping option on electronic payments screens. Supporters of the rule include labor unions, several members of the city council including the chair of the transportation committee, rideshare driver organizations, immigrant rights organizations and other community groups. Read the sign on letter here: http://drivingguild.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/TipSignOn.pdf

Supporter list:

Independent Drivers Guild
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO
District 15, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO
New York State AFL-CIO
New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO
Transport Workers Union, Local 100
International Union of Journeymen and Allied Trades
Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union
Utility Workers Union of America, Local 1-2
National Domestic Workers Alliance

Black Car Assistance Corporation
Pakistan News
SubContinent Peace Foundation
The Rideshare Guy
La cooperativa del taxista de NY
Transportation Alternatives

New York City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairperson of the Committee on Transportation
New York City Council Member Corey Johnson
New York City Council Member Karen Koslowitz
New York City Council Member Rory Lancman
New York City Council Member Daneek Miller
New York City Council Member Debi Rose
New York City Council Member Mark Treyger
New York City Council Member Darlene Mealy

“The dismissive attitude toward drivers’ ability to make a living is nothing new. But this industry’s major profiteers can’t get away with ignoring the needs of drivers and their families anymore. Their disrespectful comments only feed our fight,” said IDG founder Jim Conigliaro, Jr. “We are fighting to increase driver earnings and tipping could put hundreds of millions of dollars in drivers pockets each year. Uber’s refusal to give passengers a tipping option has effectively slashed driver pay, making it all the more difficult for drivers and their families to get by in one of the most expensive cities in America.”

“Stars are not enough. Uber can and must do better,” said IDG member Ibraheem Ibraheem who drives for Uber and other apps. “One week of tips could cover meals or a month’s worth of car cleanings and it costs Uber next to nothing. It is a slap in the face to the drivers that the company refuses to make this simple update to the app that would increase our earnings substantially.”

Today’s announcement shows the Guild’s tipping campaign is gaining momentum. The IDG first launched the campaign last summer after tipping was named the top issue of concern in an early survey of its membership. Drivers with the Guild brought the issue to Uber management in June 2016, at the first of their regular “works council” meetings negotiated by the Guild and IAMAW District 15 which gives drivers a direct line of communication to company management.

When the company refused to budge, the Guild launched the campaign including an online petition and social media advertisements as well as the distribution of flyers, bar napkins, and stickers. The campaign has two goals: pressure Uber to add the tipping option and let passengers know tips are permitted and appreciated. Uber’s refusal to allow in-app tipping has caused rampant passenger confusion over whether tipping is permitted (it is) and whether gratuity is already included in the fare (it is not).

In February, the Guild escalated the campaign by proposing a new regulation that would require an in-app tipping option for all app-based for hire vehicles in New York City. City regulators at the Taxi and Limousine Commission must decide on the rule by mid-April.

The tipping campaign is one part of the Guild’s comprehensive effort to increase drivers’ earnings, reduce expenses and create protections. When app-based ridesharing companies came on the scene, they offered enticing incentives and bonuses to woo drivers away from driving for traditional black car companies or taxi cabs. However, once these app-based companies dominated the market they doubled and now nearly tripled their cut of driver pay.

Since the launch of the Independent Drivers Guild in May, the Guild has won important victories for drivers. New York City’s Uber drivers are the only organized drivers in the world to meet with Uber management regularly to advocate for changes and they have the best job protection of any Uber drivers in the world as well, with the unique appeals process they negotiated to fight unfair deactivations. Drivers won a $1 increase to the minimum rate, the right for drivers of luxury vehicles to opt out of the lower cost UberPOOL and UberX fares, and the creation of a destination filter in the app, which allows drivers to be matched up with passengers heading toward the driver’s destination at the end of a shift (an enhancement that drivers across the country now enjoy). The Guild also negotiated discounts for drivers on insurance and other expenses drivers face, such as legal assistance fighting unfair tickets, mobile phone plans, and tax preparation services.

Most recently, the Guild won a death benefit through the Black Car Fund for the families of drivers killed on the job and successfully called on Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to step down from President Trump’s business advisory council in protest of his muslim immigration and travel ban. Nine in ten New York City drivers are immigrants and many expressed concerns about the ban, so the Guild launched a survey Monday January 30th asking drivers about the ban and if Kalanick should step down. The results were clear with a majority calling for Kalanick to quit the council and 90% of drivers noting that they knew someone affected by the ban. By Thursday night, on the eve of the council’s first meeting with Trump, Kalanick resigned from the group.

Drivers who wish to learn more about the IDG can visit DrivingGuild.org or text DRIVE to 64336 to learn more (msg and data rates may apply).

The new videos were produced with Brooklyn-based Meerkat Media Collective.


For any media inquiries, please contact Moira Muntz at press@drivingguild.org

Press Releases

NEW: Drivers Call for NYC to Require Uber Tipping Option

NYC Requires Taxis to Offer Tipping Option, Proposed Rule Would Force Uber to Comply

New York, NY — Today, the Independent Drivers Guild is petitioning the Taxi and Limousine Commission to adopt a proposed rule that would require Uber to offer passengers the option to tip their drivers in the app. Currently, all other major ridesharing companies and all New York City taxis offer tipping options in their apps or display screens. Uber’s refusal to allow in-app tipping has caused passenger confusion and resulted in drastic reductions in tipping income, which has long made up a substantial portion of driver earnings.

The Guild, which represents and advocates for New York City’s nearly 50,000 Uber drivers, submitted the proposed rule to the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), the agency responsible for licensing and regulating New York City’s taxis and for-hire vehicles. The TLC is required to respond to rule petitions within sixty days with either proposed rule language or a denial of the request. Already, the TLC requires taxi display screens to offer passengers a button to tip 20 percent and the option to manually select any tip amount. However, the agency has yet to hold the burgeoning app-based industry to the same standard.

“Tips are drivers’ bread and butter, and traditionally account for as much as a quarter of their earnings. Uber’s refusal to give passengers a tipping option has effectively slashed driver pay, making it all the more difficult for drivers to support their families in one of the most expensive cities in America,” said Jim Conigliaro, Jr, founder of the Independent Drivers Guild. “Uber has a reputation for skirting rules and industry standards, but depriving drivers of the opportunity to earn tips is bad business. The fact that they are denying drivers the ability to earn tips at the same time as the company has cut pay and nearly tripled their take of driver pay is beyond the pale. It’s time to hold Uber to the same standard as taxis and the rest of the service industry and require a tipping option.”

The Guild will also be organizing a member-led campaign to call the TLC urging adoption of the in-app tipping rule as well as distribute flyers and stickers calling attention to the issue.

Today’s petition to the TLC is an escalation of the tipping campaign that the Guild first launched last summer after tipping was named the top issue of concern in an early survey of its membership. Drivers with the Guild brought the issue to Uber management in June 2016, at the first of their regular “works council” meetings negotiated by the Guild and IAMAW District 15 which gives drivers a direct line of communication to company management.

When the company refused to budge, the Guild launched the campaign including an online petition and social media advertisements as well as the distribution of flyers, bar napkins, and stickers. The campaign has two goals: pressure Uber to add the tipping option and let passengers know tips are permitted and appreciated. Uber’s refusal to allow in-app tipping has caused rampant passenger confusion over whether tipping is permitted (it is) and whether gratuity is already included in the fare (it is not).

The tipping campaign is one part of the Guild’s comprehensive effort to increase drivers’ earnings, reduce expenses and create protections. When app-based ridesharing companies came on the scene, they offered enticing incentives and bonuses to woo drivers away from driving for traditional black car companies or taxi cabs. However, once these app-based companies dominated the market they doubled and now nearly tripled their cut of driver pay.

Since the launch of the Independent Drivers Guild in May, the Guild has won important victories for drivers. New York City’s Uber drivers are the only organized drivers in the world to meet with Uber management regularly to advocate for changes and they have the best job protection of any Uber drivers in the world as well, with the unique appeals process they negotiated to fight unfair deactivations. Drivers won a $1 increase to the minimum rate, the right for drivers of luxury vehicles to opt out of the lower cost UberPOOL and UberX fares, and the creation of a destination filter in the app, which allows drivers to be matched up with passengers heading toward the driver’s destination at the end of a shift (an enhancement that drivers across the country now enjoy). The Guild also negotiated discounts for drivers on insurance and other expenses drivers face, such as legal assistance fighting unfair tickets, mobile phone plans, and tax preparation services.

Most recently, the Guild won a death benefit through the Black Car Fund for the families of drivers killed on the job and successfully called on Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to step down from President Trump’s business advisory council in protest of his muslim immigration and travel ban. Nine in ten New York City drivers are immigrants and many expressed concerns about the ban, so the Guild launched a survey Monday January 30th asking drivers about the ban and if Kalanick should step down. The results were clear with a majority calling for Kalanick to quit the council and 90% of drivers noting that they knew someone affected by the ban. By Thursday night, on the eve of the council’s first meeting with Trump, Kalanick resigned from the group.

Drivers who wish to learn more about the IDG can visit DrivingGuild.org or text DRIVE to 64336 to learn more (msg and data rates may apply).


For any media inquiries, please contact Moira Muntz at press@drivingguild.org

Press Releases

Uber CEO Quits Trump Council

After Uber Drivers Call On Him To Do So In Protest of the Immigration Ban

This is an important show of solidarity with the immigrant drivers who helped build Uber and number over 40,000 in New York City alone. We are heartened that Uber has listened to the drivers and the community on this important issue that is so integral to the promise of the American dream.

Jim Conigliaro Jr. is the founder of the Independent Drivers Guild and serves as general counsel and a director of the International Association of Machinists District 15. The Guild represents and advocates for the more than 45,000 Uber drivers in New York City.


For any media inquiries, please contact Moira Muntz at press@drivingguild.org