Press Releases

Uber and Lyft Drivers Petition NYC for a Ride-Hail Minimum Wage

Formal Rulemaking Petition Requires City To Decide in Sixty Days

More than 15,000 Drivers Sign Petition Calling for City to Close the Minimum Wage Loophole, Raise Pay and End Price Gouging

New York, NY — Today, the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) is formally petitioning New York City to enact a livable minimum wage for app-based for-hire vehicle drivers, which would increase pay rates by 37 percent, and to prohibit price gouging in the industry, by capping rider app fees at 20 percent. The IDG, a Machinists Union affiliate which represents and advocates for more than 60,000 of these drivers, submitted the proposed rule today 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 IDG’s petition advocating for the proposal has garnered support from more than 15,000 signers.  The IDG will continue its campaign for these pay protections by launching calls and emails to city officials as well as promoting the cause with flyers and ads.

Recently, MIT researchers found that a significant portion of Uber and Lyft Drivers make less than minimum wage after expenses. Even in New York City, where nine in ten Drivers drive as their household’s main source of income, IDG survey data shows that many Drivers make less than minimum wage after expenses.

“After years of pay cuts and exploitation, New York City’s ride-hail drivers can’t make ends meet and many are making less than minimum wage after expenses. New York has a long history of standing up for working families and must not allow these apps to violate our values. We are calling on the city to close this minimum wage loophole and enact a livable minimum pay rate for app-based drivers. We cannot allow multi-billion dollar corporations to profit off the labor of New York workers without paying them a fair rate,” said IDG founder Jim Conigliaro, Jr.

“We are making much less than we were just a few years ago — and companies like Uber and Lyft are pocketing more. To try to make up the difference, drivers are forced to work longer and longer hours, but we are still unable to make ends meet,” said app-based driver and IDG member Aziz Bah. “I am an immigrant from Senegal supporting my family, including two children. I came to this country to work hard and make a better life for my family, but now it seems like the promise and protections America is known for simply don’t apply to us.”

The city is required to respond to rule petitions within sixty days, either agreeing to grant the petition and initiate rulemaking by a specific date or denying the request. While the TLC enforces certain protections for driver pay and to prevent consumer price gouging in the taxi industry, there have been no such protections in the app-based for hire vehicle industry.

Last year, IDG members petitioned for and won a New York City law and a TLC rule which forced Uber and Via to add a tipping option to their apps. In that petition, the IDG noted that further protections were needed to ensure drivers could maintain a dignified living. The Commission responded in agreement, stating “we agree with your position that rules governing tipping are not a substitute for a regulatory scheme that ensures that Drivers earn a livable wage.” Guild members and the TLC have had ongoing discussions on the need for pay protection rules since shortly after the IDG’s launch in 2016 and continuing with the issuance of the IDG’s detailed proposal in November 2017.

A 2017 Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) survey of New York City Drivers found that:

The IDG proposed rule includes:

1) A minimum pay rate that would raise wages by 37 percent for New York City app based drivers. This rate would apply across all platforms including Uber, Lyft, Juno, and Via.

According to a 2017 survey, the average work day for drivers is more than 11 hours, which is 37 percent above 8 hours: the basic right of a maximum work day.  The Guild proposed a minimum pay scale based on a 37 percent increase over 2017 rates to promote safe driving and return driver compensation to be nearer the rates offered in the past. The Guild proposal also includes a premium pay rate for drivers of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles to incentivize the transition to such vehicles and to offset the increased costs.

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

UberX

Driver Pay

Passenger Fare*

2013

$20.25

$28.50

2018

$14.68

Varies**

IDG Proposal

$20.11

$27.42

*Includes taxes and company fees
**Passenger fare is no longer bound to actual mileage or minutes traveled.

2) Prohibit price gouging. Currently, apps can charge passengers more than double what a worker is paid, and the IDG’s report has examples of just that. The IDG’s proposed rule would prohibit Uber, Lyft and other companies from charging passengers more than 20 percent over what the worker is paid. This would prevent price gouging and return commissions to the rates riders and drivers agreed to previously.

3) Return trip to New York City 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 IDG’s rule petition comes as New York lawmakers are considering numerous proposals to increase taxes and fees on the ride-hail industry in attempt to fund public transit, reduce congestion and update regulations. The IDG rule would prevent apps from passing those taxes and fees on to already struggling drivers, incentivize workers to operate wheelchair accessible vehicles, and reduce driver’s time on the road which would reduce congestion.

The IDG is also calling on New York lawmakers to limit the licensing of new for-hire vehicle drivers to address the glut of drivers, which has outpaced demand, led to an increase in unpaid down time, and contributed to congestion concerns. Limiting the number of drivers in a way that maintains quick response times but minimizes unpaid down time would allow existing drivers a better opportunity to make a living and right-size the fleet. The Guild opposes proposals to cap the number of for-hire vehicles because such a cap would cause vehicle and operation costs to skyrocket for workers.

In addition, the IDG is working to ensure members are protected by basic benefits. While the Guild opposes any new taxes that could further harm its members, if state lawmakers insist on a new rider surcharge, the Guild is demanding that it provide for a benefits fund for workers. Such a fund would give drivers access to benefits that would protect the public health and make our streets safer, such as paid sick leave, health, or vision plans.

“New York is positioned to lead the country and create a national model for fair working conditions for contractors, but there are only so many surcharges that can be put on the shoulders of our members and be supported.  Any new surcharge must provide benefits to workers,” said Ryan Price, IDG’s Executive Director.


Media Contact: press@drivingguild.org

The Independent Drivers Guild is an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and represents and advocates for more than 60,000 app-based drivers in New York City.

Press Releases

On Creating a Benefits Fund for NYC’s FHV Drivers

Comment from Independent Drivers Guild founder Jim Conigliaro, Jr.:

We are pleased to see Washington state’s SEIU Local 775 and Uber’s Mr. Khosrowshahi collaborate on principles toward getting workers the benefits they deserve.

In New York, the Independent Drivers Guild has led discussions with city and state officials about the creation of a benefits fund for drivers through company contributions or a surcharge. Such a fund would give drivers access to benefits that would protect the public health, save public spending, and make our streets safer, such as paid sick leave, health or vision plans.

We call on Mr. Khosrowshahi to support the Guild’s ongoing efforts to establish a benefits fund in New York as we work to create a model for more fair working conditions for contract workers.

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

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