Press Releases

Fausto Luna statement

The media is reporting the seventh known suicide in the last year in this industry, and the second of our members to take their lives under pressure of overwhelming debt. It’s a tragedy we wish we could have prevented and our sincere sympathies go out to the friends and family of Fausto Luna.

The For-Hire Vehicle industry is in a far reaching crisis that is affecting thousands of families across our city right now. After years of sub minimum wage pay, mounting bills and punishing shifts, drivers for apps like Uber and Lyft are at the breaking point along with drivers across the for-hire vehicle industry.

Our message to drivers is to take heart: we are SO close to making this industry so much better, and you are not alone. We are about to win a massive raise and we are united in fighting for a fair industry. We encourage all of our members to reach out to NYC Well and get involved in the IDG where we take care of each other like brothers and sisters.

This industry and this job is debilitatingly lonely by design. As a member elegantly said at a meeting: “In here we are brothers, but on the streets we are wolves.” The working conditions of the industry pits people who should be working together as brothers and sisters against one another in a constant battle of who gets the next trip, who cuts who off, and who goes first. Though drivers are with people all day, they are often treated by their passengers as subhuman, alienated from their humanity, and underpaid for it to boot.

But the core of this crisis is economic, which is why we have been fighting for the city to enact a livable wage. It is hard to not be depressed when you are working 60 hours a week and still not making enough money to provide for your family. We also need a crisis response that meets drivers where they are, so we are in the process of establishing a mental health and wellness program including prevention, counseling and crisis response.

We have worked over the last year to create and secure funding for a mental health and wellness plan including hiring a psychologist and social worker.  The Independent Drivers Guild has secured a grant from the Black Car Fund for this program and is currently hiring and will be launching the program in the coming months.

Event

November General Meeting

Come to the next IDG General Meeting to learn more about our ongoing fight for fair pay and a fairer industry. We need to come together and show the City Council that enough is enough – we need fair leasing and fair pay now!

Please join us at this important meeting on Tuesday, November 6th @7PM to discuss our strategy. We need YOUR support!

Free parking opens up at 7PM and there will be food available, as always!

Press Releases

More Than 100 IDG Members Attended NYC Hearing, Call For Livable Wage That Reflects Real Costs

New IDG Data: Average Lease Cost is Nearly Triple the City’s Estimate in Pay Proposal

New York, NY — After a two year campaign by the Independent Drivers Guild, New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission held a hearing TODAY Wednesday, October 3rd on the nation’s first livable wage rules for drivers for apps like Uber and Lyft. The city’s proposed rules, put forward following the Guild’s campaign and regulatory petition, would mean a 22.5% raise for drivers, a pay increase if Uber and Lyft over-hire, and annual cost of living increases.

The proposed pay structure is a vital and revolutionary move toward regulating the app-based industry to make it more fair for working people. However, the Guild found that the city’s proposal underestimates driver costs in several areas, most dramatically in the areas of vehicle lease and rental costs and in the cost of benefits. The IDG, which represents more than 65,000 app-based drivers in New York City, is calling for the Commission to fix the cost estimates in light of this new data and then pass the amended rules swiftly.

While the city estimated lease costs at $635 per month, new data collected by the IDG shows the actual cost incurred by drivers averages nearly three times that. The IDG collected lease data from more than 500 app-based drivers who reported paying an average of more than $1800 per month. This is consistent with the lease prices offered at the city’s major leasing companies for compact sedans. Many leases include industry-specific liability insurance, and some require extra fees to purchase TLC insurance. But even if you combine the city estimates for leasing and insurance ($400/month), the city’s total ($1035 per month) still comes up far short of the average reported by drivers. What’s more, the city’s pay formula assumed that 80 percent of drivers own their vehicles and just twenty percent lease or rent, but multiple IDG surveys found that the breakdown is 60 percent own and 40 percent lease or rent. The IDG is calling on the city to update its pay formula to reflect the reality of drivers’ expenses

Additionally, the city’s proposed pay formula fails to account for the many benefits that employees receive, like health insurance, disability, Unemployment Insurance and several other benefits that drivers must bear the risk for. A report from the Economic Policy Institute analyzing Uber driver pay earlier this year concluded that the cost shifted to drivers for standard benefits equals 14.1 percent of wages. This is a significant expense that is omitted from the city formula.

Furthermore, the $15 per hour salary at the core of the city’s calculations is lower than the industry standard for professional drivers who have obtained specialized licensure, as is required for for-hire vehicle drivers in New York City. For example, minimum pay for the city’s MTA bus drivers is currently $23.85 per hour — and that is before a laundry list of benefits, none of which Uber and Lyft drivers receive and which are not accounted for in the city’s calculations. A fair base rate before expenses would be a minimum of $20 per hour as employees, $22.96 as independent contractors, to bring the FHV sector closer in line with the industry and to account for the lack of benefits.

“For two years, we’ve fought for fair pay rules for New York City drivers. We are pleased that New York is listening to drivers who have long suffered with earnings that fall below minimum wage, but it’s critical that the city get this right. While the city’s proposal has many strong points, the current version underestimates drivers’ costs. The average driver pays nearly triple the cost the city estimated for leases – and  a much larger portion of drivers lease than the city’s formula assumes. What’s more, the city formula fails to account for the costs shifted to drivers to pay for their own benefits like health care – the pay rate needs to reflect that,” said Ryan Price, Executive Director of the Independent Drivers Guild.

“Working families like mine are desperate for a raise and quick passage of these rules, but the city can’t call this a livable wage if the numbers do not reflect reality. We are urging the city to correct their cost estimates and then pass these rules without further delay,” said IDG member Tina Raveneau who drives for apps like Uber and Lyft. “As a working, single mom, I really appreciate that the city is taking action for fair pay, but they need to know their numbers are flat out wrong and they are missing some of the big expenses other employees take for granted. I pay $429 per week to lease my little Nissan Sentra compact sedan – that is triple the cost estimate in the city’s proposal. The city’s math assumes the average driver is paying less than $150 per week, which simply is not the case. Look at the ads at all the major companies, leases START at $350 or $375 – and that’s for little old cars.”

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

 

 

The Independent Drivers Guild is an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and represents and advocates for more than 65,000 app-based drivers in New York City. We are Uber, Lyft, Juno, and Via drivers united for a fair for-hire vehicle industry.

Media contact: press@drivingguild.org

Jobs

Licensed Clinical Social Worker for Mental Health and Wellness Program for For-Hire Vehicle Drivers

The Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) is a nonprofit affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) bringing together app-based drivers in New York City to win better pay, benefits, and dignity on the job. We believe in the power of collective action to win change. Since our launch in 2016, our campaigns have put millions of dollars in drivers pockets, first through a campaign that established the right to be able to accept tips through apps, and next through landmark regulations that will establish the first-ever pay floor in the industry.

We now seek to build on this foundation of economic gains with a new initiative to promote mental health and wellness amongst For-Hire Vehicle drivers in partnership with the Black Car Fund. Our Mental Health and Wellness Program will provide a lifeline for drivers who are in crisis, and support drivers with a suite of preventative measures including Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, counseling, guidance in accessing social services, as well as financial planning, ESL, and Know Your Rights classes.

We seek a Licensed Clinical Social Worker to join our team. The right candidate will have a can-do attitude and a passion for helping immigrant workers gain power to transform reality through collective action.

Responsibilities are as follows:

Qualifications:

Compensation:

Please send a cover letter and CV or resume to erik@drivingguild.org. Application closes October 17.

Jobs

Psychologist for Mental Health and Wellness Program for For-Hire Vehicle Drivers

The Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) is a nonprofit affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) bringing together app-based drivers in New York City to win better pay, benefits, and dignity on the job. We believe in the power of collective action to win change. Since our launch in 2016, our campaigns have put millions of dollars in drivers pockets, first through a campaign that established the right to be able to accept tips through apps, and next through landmark regulations that will establish the first-ever pay floor in the industry.

We now seek to build on this foundation of economic gains with a new initiative to promote mental health and wellness amongst For-Hire Vehicle drivers in partnership with the Black Car Fund. Our Mental Health and Wellness Program will provide a lifeline for drivers who are in crisis, and support drivers with a suite of preventative measures including Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, counseling, guidance in accessing social services, as well as financial planning, ESL, and Know Your Rights classes.

We seek a psychologist to join our team. The right candidate will have a can-do attitude and a passion for helping immigrant workers gain power to transform reality through collective action.

Responsibilities:

• Offer regular counseling to drivers who need ongoing support due to varying mental health issues, but most commonly: depression, anxiety, suicide ideation, and PTSD;
• Manage a caseload of around 10-20 drivers;
• Co-develop curriculum with the Education Director and staff social worker around mental health and wellness;
• Offer trainings for drivers and leaders in the driving community around mental wellness and stress management
• Field calls from drivers who are in crisis;
• Develop relationships with religious and cultural leaders who drivers may reach out to when they are in crisis;
• Train leaders within and outside the organization on best practices when talking with a driver who is in crisis or needs counseling;
• Work closely with other members of the Mental Health and Wellness Team to track key metrics of program effectiveness;
• Think creatively and collaborate with staff to adapt program focus as-needed.

Qualifications:
• A PsyD or a PhD in Psychology
• Valid NY state licensure
• 2-5 years clinical experience
• Experience working with working class and marginalized populations
• Labor/community organizing experience preferred
• Experience creating and implementing curriculum
• Multilingual strongly preferred
• Passion for social justice

Compensation
• Starting pay $60,000/year with full benefits.

Please send a cover letter and CV or resume to erik@drivingguild.org. Application closes October 17.

Event

October 3rd: Demand the TLC raise Driver Pay

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After 2 years of fighting, the IDG forced the TLC to have a hearing about raising driver pay. On October 3rd, we will demand an industry wide pay raise so that we can provide for our families and cover our expenses. We need you to stand with us at 6:00 PM on October 3rd to fight for the raise that we all deserve. Without you, we cannot win.

Event

September General Meeting

Come to the next IDG General Meeting to get ready to fight for FAIR LEASING REGULATIONS at the City Council hearing on September 17th. We need to come together and show the City Council that enough is enough – we need fair leasing regulations now!

Please join us at this important meeting on Tuesday, September 4th at 7PM to discuss our strategy to fight and win fair leasing costs. We need YOUR support! Free parking opens up at 7PM and there will be food available, as always!

Event

September 17th: Rally For Fair Leasing Prices

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Join us in fighting for fair leasing regulations. Enough is enough! We need fair leasing regulation NOW – we can’t afford to see these prices sky rocket.

We will be having a rally and press conference at city hall on Monday, September 17th! Here’s the schedule for the day:

               8:30AM-9:30: Rally and picket outside city hall gates

               9:30-10:00: Press Conference on the City Hall steps

               10:00AM – on: City Council Hearing on leasing regulations

We need IDG members out in FULL FORCE to show the City Council that fair leasing regulations are long overdue. Join us and show the city council the power we have by coming together.

Active

New Benefits

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

What are the benefits?

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

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

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

News

Support Fair Leasing

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

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

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

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

Sign the petition to demand fair leasing prices.

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