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: https://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

Updates

TLC Written Comment

This is the written comment from the Independent Drivers Guild written on behalf of our 50,000 members:









In solidarity.

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

Updates

Tell the TLC we need fair pay

Today has been marked on my calendar as “doomsday” for a few weeks. But today, we show the Taxi and Limousine Commission, Uber, and Lyft who really has the power: the workers, united.

Right now, your union needs you to email the Taxi and Limousine Commission and tell them to meet our five demands:

  1. Mandate our proposed tipping option. It’s the easiest way to get millions of dollars back to the hands of our members.
  2. End the race to the bottom and regulate pay. We propose a minimum mile and minute pay that is protected from sales taxes, surcharges, and commissions. That pay should be enough so you can make at least $250 in an eight hour work day.
  3. Limit the number of TLC licenses to end oversaturation. New licensees can be added seasonally if the number of trips increases.
  4. Protect UberBLACK/Luxury drivers as a class of their own since they experience the most significant financial burden.
  5. Mandate a right to appeal if a company undercharges or would like to take money away from a driver. The Taxi and Limousine Commission should also be required to audit a company’s records every time they receive a complaint from a driver about underpayment.

Stand up and tell the Taxi and Limousine Commission what your demands are. Ride hail companies make millions by dividing us. It’s time for us to unite under the Independent Drivers Guild and support one another.

EMAIL THE TLC NOW

Power to the brothers and sisters at the TLC hearing speaking on all of our behalves today.

In solidarity,

Ryan Price

P.S. We are only as strong as our members. Become a dues-paying member of the IDG today. Let’s build worker power in the For-Hire Vehicle industry.

Updates

Education Programs Director

The Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) is hiring an experienced and self-driven individual interested in helping build our organization from the ground up. We are an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW, Machinists Union) and represent 50,000 app-based For-Hire Vehicle workers in New York City.

New York City For-Hire Vehicle workers are required by the Taxi and Limousine Commission to take multiple classes including Defensive Driving, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle training, a 24 hour class to learn tools of the trade, and others. Right now, classes are primarily provided by for-profit companies making millions of dollars by charging well above cost.

We are seeking an experienced Education Programs Director to start up, maintain, and perpetually grow our education programs. Our goal with this position is to become a main provider of the classes for free, paid, or very affordably, to provide nonessential classes to aid self-development, and help our members save thousands of dollars per year while educating workers about unionism and their rights.

These would be the primary responsibilities of the Education Programs Director:

Start up and grow programs:

Program maintenance:

Program recruitment:

Candidate should possess the following experience: project management, excellent verbal and written communication skills, maintaining with relationships with partners organizations or governmental groups, group facilitation, coworking with Google Docs, logistics coordination, developing programs or curriculum (preferably for English as a Second Language Learners).

Candidate would preferably possess background knowledge and/or experience in several of the following fields: adult education, experience navigating regulatory apparatuses, English as a Second Language curriculum writing, vocational education, labor organizing, workforce development, business development, and sustainable practices.

Candidate should have be interested in labor unions and their role in the economic and political realities of today, and interested in helping the Machinists Union build worker power for a fair platform economy.

Please visit IDG.ms/EPD to apply.

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

Updates

Tipping update: A huge win could be close

There are two key dates closing in very quickly: April 6th, and April 17th.

On April 6th, thanks to the input of IDG members, activists like you, and years of pressure from the Machinists Union and other industry leaders, the Taxi and Limousine Commission will have a public hearing to consider regulating driver pay in the For-Hire Vehicle industry for the first time ever.

They hear us and are listening.

April 17th is the deadline for the Taxi and Limousine Commission to accept our proposed rule which would require that all ride-hailing apps have a tipping option to operate in New York City. What does that mean for you? Both Uber and Via would have to implement a tipping option. This could create hundreds of millions of dollars of new income in the industry and a raise of as much as $13,000 annually to each full time member.

If you want to win a tipping option, email the TLC and tell them you support our proposed rule.

EMAIL THE TLC NOW

We have been circulating a letter of support for a tipping option and have had a very positive response. So far, the following elected officials and organizations have declared their support of our proposed rule:

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

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

If we stand in solidarity with one another, all 50,000 of us can be an unbeatable force in New York City. We will win a fair For-Hire Vehicle industry. Email the TLC now.

News

March 14th Blizzard

Tomorrow and Wednesday, we strongly encourage all IDG members to stay inside, safe from the elements. The risk is not worth it.

There is a Blizzard Warning for New York City tomorrow from 12AM on 3/14 to 12AM on 3/15. The current forecast calls for 12-20″ of snow, winds of 25-35mph with gusts up to 55mph, and cold temperatures. Snowfall rates of 2-4″ per hour are possible which may result in whiteout conditions and visibility of less than a quarter mile. View the NYC Emergency Management press release here.

As the old labor motto goes, an injury to one is an injury to all.

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