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Uber Joins Lyft In Manipulating Driver Access to App in NYC

City Failed to Block Uber and Lyft From Flouting Pay Rules As Called for By Drivers Guild

New York, NY — Today, Uber announced the company would start manipulating access to its app for New York City drivers, in a move that violates the intent of the city’s pay rules, including blocking access to the app for some drivers and requiring them to drive to areas with more demand in order to log on. The company announced this new policy in an email to drivers today and claimed it was in response to the city’s TLC regulations and the response from other companies, such as Lyft.” The move follows similar action by Lyft and months of complaints from the Independent Drivers Guild calling for the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission to take enforcement action to block such actions as violations of the city’s pay rules. The app company actions are expected to reduce pay by failing to track all of the drivers’ working time and reducing opportunities to work as well as limiting the ability of drivers to decide where and when to work.

“The app companies are stomping all over the city’s rules and the Taxi and Limousine Commission is doing nothing to stop them. This is exactly what we told the TLC would happen,” said Brendan Sexton, Executive Director of the IDG, a Machinists Union affiliate which represents and advocates for more than 80k app based drivers in NYC. “For months we warned that if the city failed to take enforcement action against Lyft for flouting the spirit of the pay rules, that the other apps would follow suit and drivers’ pay would suffer. Already thousands of drivers are struggling to pay their bills because Lyft is blocking them from the app. Now 80,000 New York City families will pay the price because the TLC refused to stand up for drivers and crackdown on the app companies.”

Over 100 IDG members gathered at City Hall earlier this week to call for the city to abolish the TLC due to its failure to stand up for drivers, including on this issue of enforcing the pay rules. The Guild also called for a Drivers’ Bill of Rights this week, which specifically included blocking apps from trying to get around the pay rules. IDG specifically called for TLC enforcement action for months to prevent this from happening, starting with a letter in June:  https://drivingguild.org/2019/06/21/letter-to-tlc/ . IDG also testified about this issue at a TLC hearing in July, calling attention to the fact that Lyft was using this policy to further enrich the company by giving preferential access to drivers who pay them upwards of $400 per week to rent a vehicle from Lyft’s Express Drive program. IDG also testified on this at a City Hall rally and City Council hearing this week, including testimony and screenshots from IDG member and Lyft driver Tina Raveneau, showing that she was blocked from the Lyft app for all but a four hour shift 5am-9pm Monday through Thursday, a shift that does not even work for her as a single mother of a school-aged child. The TLC failed to act and failed to include any further regulatory guidance during its summer rulemaking, despite having the clear opportunity to do so.

EXCERPT FROM JUNE LETTER:

In the Commission’s statement of basis and purpose for the pay rules, it clearly states that these rules establish a minimum per-trip payment formula that takes into account “drivers’ total working time, both time spent driving passengers as well as time waiting for a dispatch and then traveling to pick up passengers.” Drivers are paid by mile and minute rates which are determined using a utilization rate which works as a multiplier so that drivers are compensated for the minutes and miles with and without a rider in the vehicle.

If an app company simply stops counting the miles and minutes when a driver is waiting for dispatch or traveling to their next pick up location by logging drivers out of the app, the company is not making dispatch more efficient. The drivers are still driving those miles and waiting those minutes. But now those miles and minutes are not accounted for in the pay formula, so driver pay rates go down. If all of the drivers’ miles and minutes are not counted toward the utilization rate, it means drivers aren’t getting paid for those miles and minutes.

Given the competitive, race to the bottom nature of the high volume app-based for-hire vehicle services, we urge the Commission to take swift action to stop Lyft and any other app companies tempted to follow suit from enacting policies that manipulate access to the app in a way that would obscure and fail to account for the “drivers’ total working time, both time spent driving passengers as well as time waiting for a dispatch and then traveling to pick up passengers.”

Furthermore, we call on the commission and city leaders to switch the power dynamic that enables app companies to manipulate thousands of hard working drivers in our city. By limiting new TLC drivers’ licenses instead of limiting vehicles, the city can empower the more than 70,000 New Yorkers who drive for-hire vehicles for a living. Instead of having app companies kick excess drivers off their apps, companies would have to compete for workers with better pay or policies. Amending the cap policy in this way would also give workers the option of ownership rather than being beholden to predatory leasing companies.


Read the Drivers’ Bill of Rights here.

The Independent Drivers Guild, a Machinists Union affiliate, petitioned for and won the nation’s first minimum wage for Uber and Lyft drivers in NYC. IDG represents and advocates for more than 80,000 for-hire vehicle drivers in NYC.
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February General Meeting

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Deactivated? Uber Drivers Can Take This Free Class To Get Back On The App

Deactivated? Worried that low ratings are threatening your livelihood? Many riders have no idea that a rating as high as 4.6 out of 5 stars can be a fireable offense on the Uber app. The Independent Drivers Guild has a free class to help you boost your ratings and get you back on the app. ABC7 came out to check out our class – get a behind the scenes look here:

You can read more about IDG’s classes at https://drivingguild.org/upcoming-classes/

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Holiday Safety Tips for FHV Drivers

 

 

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Stop scapegoating Uber and Lyft drivers

The men and women behind the wheel need a minimum wage, not more fees

By Jim Conigliaro, Jr.

We all want the best for our city, from public transit improvements to reduced congestion, but the financial burden cannot be allowed to fall on those who can least afford it. Uber and Lyft drivers are hardworking men and women who are just trying to help their families climb the economic ladder, but are being exploited by an industry run amok.

Rather than allow these workers to be made scapegoats for New York’s funding and traffic woes, New York must recognize that they are falling through the holes in our safety net—and act to protect them.

Read the complete article here

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Worker Safety Plan

Due to ​workers occasionally messaging us with intent to self-harm, and the recent passing of Doug Schifter, we feel it’s important to post some important resources if you or a loved one are considering self-harm.

  1. Suicide​ ​Hotline:​ 800-273-8255
  2. Local​ ​Emergency​ ​Room:​ ​NYC​ ​Health​ ​and​ ​Hospitals/Woodhull
    Address:​ ​760​ ​Broadway​ ​Brooklyn,​ ​NY​ ​11206
    Phone​ ​#:​ ​718-963-8000
  3. Call​ ​911​ ​if​ ​you​ ​can’t​ ​get​ ​to​ ​your​ ​local​ ​emergency​ ​room

Here are a few other resources that could be helpful:

NYC Affirmative Psychotherapy – Rana Shokeh, LMSW
41-51 East 11th St 4th Fl New York, New York 10003 (347) 801-7932

Specialities: Depression, Anxiety, & Racial Identity
Arabic Speaking
Sliding Scale for low income patients

Mind and Body Wellness Medical Center
32-72 Steinway 5th Floor Astoria, New York 11103 (347) 609-7769
420 64th Street Brooklyn, New York 11220 (347) 609-7769

Specialties: Depression, Anxiety, & Relationship Issues
Arabic Speaking Staff
Sliding Scale for low income patients

Social Work Counseling Services, LCC
2924 Hoyt Avenue South Astoria, NY 11102

There are also plenty of resources on www.psychologytoday.com depending on if you have insurance or not.

If you know of any free resources for low income workers, please contact us.

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Donate to Stop Low Pay

Last year, workers came together to win the tipping option. It took about a year and 12,000 signatures, but we forced corporate giants Via and Uber to add a tipping option to their apps.

Do you remember these videos from the tipping campaign?

We would like to make similar videos about the pay campaign to tell the story of struggling Uber, Lyft, Juno, and Via drivers—but good videos are not cheap or easy. The above video along with its second video cost the IDG about $10,000.

Donate today to help us produce videos stressing how much for-hire vehicle workers are struggling today.

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NYCC Transportation Committee Public Comment

Testimony of Ryan Price, Executive Director

Independent Drivers Guild

New York City Council Committee on Transportation

June 21, 2017

Good Morning Chairman Rodriguez and Members of the Committee, my name is Ryan Price and I am the Executive Director of the The Independent Drivers Guild. The IDG is a nonprofit affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) that represents 50,000 working drivers throughout the for-hire vehicle industry. The IAMAW has been the only union to successfully organize black car workers in New York City, and has been doing so for twenty years. The IDG started in May of 2016. We focus on organizing workers of the app-based for-hire vehicle industry to win a more fair for-hire vehicle industry. In the past year, we’ve heard from tens of thousands of workers on how to improve the for-hire vehicle industry, and organize to realize those improvements.

On behalf of our membership, first and foremost, we thank you Mr. Chairman for your leadership and support of this very important issue that will have a significant and meaningful impact on the lives of thousands of drivers and their families. We also want to thank the the Taxi and Limousine Commission for accepting our petition to mandate a tipping option across the for-hire vehicle industry, as well as Council Member Espinal, Chin, Lander, Menchaca, Public Advocate Tish James and Comptroller Scott Stringer and many other city and state officials for supporting our long-run campaign and proposing a local law to cement our proposal to make tipping standard again.

We support Intro 1646 which mandates a gratuity option for black car and luxury limousine services. We stand in strong support of this legislation, which will provide a desperately needed raise to thousands of New York families who are struggling to make ends meet after years of pay cuts. We also urge the adoption of four essential amendments for the economic well-being of our members—91% of whom are US immigrants from more than 150 countries, 56% of whom care for a dependent, and 27% of whom lack and are seeking health insurance—and stress how vital it is that workers and regulators continue work hand-in-hand to protect New Yorkers by implementing pay regulation.

Labor platform companies like Uber, Lyft, Juno, Gett, and Via all know how important it is to have a tipping option, but those companies seem incapable of developing a policy that workers are actually asking for. Those companies know Americans are struggling to pay their debts and often feel fortunate to just have a job—so when companies slash pay, the workers are pressured to both perform more trips per hour and work dangerously long shifts just to feed their families and keep up—and the company profits more than ever.

New York City can be the global leader and be a part of curbing the culture of driver exploitation. A strong tipping regulation is potentially a $300 million dollar issue for New York City for-hire vehicle workers and their families. We urge New York’s City Council Members and the Taxi and Limousine Commission to strengthen the driver protections they have proposed and ensure fair and consistent application of the tipping option for all for hire vehicle drivers through these four actions:

We again thank you for your support and request the swift passage of Intro 1646 and thank you for supporting New York City for-hire vehicle workers.

Thank you and I am available for any questions the committee may have

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

News | Uncategorized

Uber recognizes guild for New York City drivers

http://www.fox5ny.com/your-money/139582560-story

Fox 5 NY | Lida Curanaj

See the Fox 5 interview with Guild founder Jim Conigliaro Jr at: http://www.fox5ny.com/your-money/139582560-story