For the past year, IDG members like yourself have been fighting for a tipping option. Here is the timeline of our campaign:
May 2016 IDG launched as a Machinists Union affiliate representing and advocating for app-based drivers.
June 2016 Guild surveyed drivers on priorities and drivers selected tipping as top issue to bring to the first Uber works council meeting, but the company resisted.
July 2016 Guild launched a public campaign to pressure the company (online petition over 11,000 signatures, flyers, bar napkins, social media ads, stickers in cars).
July 2016 Guild first gave public comment to TLC in support of pay regulations.
February 2017 Uber still refused to budge on tipping, so IDG petitioned the TLC for tipping option rule and called for broader pay protection.
Feb-April 2017 Guild intensified the advocacy campaign driving 800 calls and thousands of emails to TLC; won the support of elected officials including a sign on letter with elected officials and community organizations. Finally, we produced twovideos comparing the lack of a tipping option to other industries. Those videos were viewed by over 50,000 people.
April 2017 TLC hearing – IDG members made a case for tipping and pay protection regulation (60 drivers attended to address TLC and flyer the event).
April 2017 VICTORY TLC responded that it sides with IDG in favor of tipping rule and also agreed broader pay regulation should be taken up.
May 30, 2017 TLC officially proposed rule language requiring tipping option.
June 6, 2017 NYC City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez introduced legislation to require in-app tipping option with hearing scheduled for June 22.
June 15, 2017 Along with Long Haul Fares and a raise, workers voted for the tipping option to be a top-three issue for the June Works Council meeting.
June 20, 2017 Uber announced it would enable in-app tipping nationwide by the end of July.
June 21, 2017 Works Council meeting. Guild members told Uber $1, $2, $5 option is unacceptable.
June 22, 2017 IDG testified at New York City Council hearing on tipping legislation.
July 6, 2017 Uber added tipping option in NYC.
The campaign isn’t over yet. We still want to win the taxi-style rules where the tipping options have to be 20%, 25%, 30% or “other.” Join us on Sunday to get organized for the TLC hearing about the tipping rule on July 13th.
The new JFK bathrooms are a result of a coordinated push that included working closely with Port Authority, in conjunction with an all out media and grassroots effort. This victory came after months of stalling and navigating a difficult bureaucratic process, but a few weeks ago we decided we were tired of waiting.
We sent out press releases, text messages, and emails asking members to call the port authority to demand the basic dignity of a place to use the bathroom.
To be clear, porta potties are only a temporary solution. We demand bathrooms with running water and shade. We are also pushing to get more FHV stands in Manhattan to prevent tickets for stopping at taxi stands. If you want to take action, here’s what you do. After we get the final locations accepted by the Department of Transportation, we’re going to push for public bathrooms.
We deserve to drive with dignity. Join us as a dues-paying member at http://IDG.ms/JOIN to keep the wins coming.
Cost is a barrier and as a result, we’re redoubling our efforts to win pay regulations and New York Council’s Intro 1301. These measures will put more money in your pocket and help ease the cost of healthcare. Throughout the summer, we’ll be asking members to fill out this survey to evaluate interest in healthcare and collect the necessary data to push forward the argument for pay regulations.
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:
Mandate parity with the Taxi industry by requiring the tip options be 20%, 25%, 30%, or other—and offer customers the option to select a preset tip percentage to be automatically applied across all trips on that platform.
Bar any additional hurdles to tipping or notification of the tipping option. For example, companies should be prohibited from requiring customers to rate a driver’s service at a certain level before being able to give gratuity.
The option to tip must be available for a minimum of twenty-four hours.
Gratuity must be classified as completely separate from a worker’s pay. That way companies cannot take a cut of a worker’s gratuity, and gratuity cannot count toward “incentives”—therefore acting as an effective tipped wage. This will also ensure the estimated $300 million in gratuities per year would stay in the hands of New Yorkers rather than being raided by multinational corporations.
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.
We work to bring working drivers together to build power. One of our early wins was forcing Uber to give workers a direct line to Uber management to discuss the collective issues that are important to IDG members like you. We call the group of workers that meet with Uber the “Works Council.”
Tipping: Add the tipping option to the app before the TLC mandates it. Put an added feature after the ride to give, 20%, 25%, 30% or other—and riders should be able to choose a flat tip (like 25%) across all rides so they don’t have to choose.
Mile/Minute/Base pay rates must be increased.
Long Haul Fare: Fare should double when leaving NYC.
UberPOOL: workers should be able to opt-out, POOL rating shouldn’t go against general rating, pickups are often on the bus lane side of the street.
Seniority bonus: Give the drivers a $1,000 bonus for every 1,000 rides and give drivers a bonus on rides already completed in the past when you institute this policy.
Destination Filter: Increase the number of destination trips we can do in a day, count destination trips towards promotions.
These issues were chosen openly and with the steward council over the last few weeks. The survey closes Sunday, June 18 at 9AM. Only New York City TLC licensed drivers’ votes will count.
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 email@example.com
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.
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.
“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.
“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.