Podcast

IDG Behind the Wheel: Call It In – JFK Needs Bathrooms

The Independent Drivers Guild has been fighting for clean, regularly serviced bathrooms at the JFK cell phone lot. We deserve better and should not have to suffer the indignity and health risks of waiting at JFK with no access to real bathrooms. Call the Port Authority and demand that they install actual bathrooms with running water at JFK. 1-844-335-3514

You may also find and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.

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Podcast

IDG Behind the Wheel: Part One, Tipping

In our first episode, we introduce the Independent Drivers Guild and our fight to win a mandate for all apps to feature a tipping option in New York City. Hear directly from our members and learn how they operate, why they participate, and what real drivers are asking for. Leave your thoughts and stories on our podcast hotline, 1-844-554-4015 and join the guild by visiting IDG.ms/JOIN.

You may also find and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.

Please contact us if you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, if you have feedback, questions, or requests.

Podcast

IDG Behind the Wheel: Trailer

The Independent Driver’s Guild is a Non-Profit Machinists Union Affiliate fighting for app-based For Hire Vehicle Drivers in New York City. We are over 60,000 Uber, Lyft, Via, and Juno workers united for a fair for For-Hire Industry. Leave your stories, comments, and questions for us at (844) 554-4015. Contact the guild directly at info@drivingguild.org or IDG Legal Helpline: (800) 576-7806. Become a member at IDG.ms/Join

You may also find and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.

Please contact us if you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, if you have feedback, questions, or requests.

Active | Updates

TLC WAV Rule

The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) has proposed a rule that would deeply cut drivers’ income, while they could achieve their same goals without risking our lives. Email the TLC right now to tell them drivers believe in dignity for people in wheelchairs, but the TLC doesn’t have to slash driver income to improve service.

EMAIL THE TLC NOW

Tomorrow, the TLC is meeting to hear testimony on an unfair and impractical Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) rule. While we support wheelchair accessibility, and we know our fellow workers support getting more Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles on the road, we cannot support a rule so severe, and on such an unrealistic timeline that it will endanger the public by drastically cutting our income.

We need as many FHV workers as possible to tell the TLC you oppose the proposed rule.

Tomorrow’s hearing isn’t one New York’s 100,000 FHV workers can afford to ignore.

Already, we’re struggling to make a living while balancing vehicle maintenance, out-of-pocket medical care, and wages that seem to drop every time Uber and Lyft feel like tweaking their algorithms. Now, we’re staring down the barrel of a new Wheelchair Accessibility rule that will decimate our ability to make a living.

You can help save FHV workers from this impractical WAV rule. Email the TLC to tell them you oppose the rule.

We have been trying to make contact with the advocates for people with disabilities to get them to meet with For-Hire Vehicle workers so we can work hand in hand to create a fair rule, but we’re having difficulty getting them to listen, which is why we have to mobilize.

Quick facts about this rule:

We support getting more WAVs on the road, and people in wheelchairs need a better service. But getting more WAVs on the road by cutting the income of 100,000 workers in half is unacceptable. Tell the TLC you oppose this rule. If you have contacts with any advocates for people with disabilities, please tell them we want to work together to build a future that works for people in wheelchairs and hard working drivers alike.

 

Updates

On Tipping

For the past year, IDG members like yourself have been fighting for a tipping option. Here is the timeline of our campaign:

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.

IDG General Meeting

July 9th, 2017, 12:00 PM

456 Johnson Ave, Unit 412, Brooklyn

RSVP here

Join us as a dues-paying member at http://IDG.ms/JOIN to keep the wins coming.

Updates

On Bathrooms

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.

We made the New York Times, among others. And it finally got a reaction from the Port Authority.

They added portable restrooms the next day.

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.

Updates

On Healthcare

We may have suffered a setback, but with so many uninsured IDG members, the issue isn’t lack of need. By no means are we giving up this battle. Here’s what you can do right now:

Join Us at the Next General Meeting

Healthcare and pay regulations will be the centerpieces of our July 9th meeting. We’ll discuss details of where we go from here, and more you can do to push healthcare over the finish line.

IDG General Meeting

July 9th, 2017, 12:00 PM

456 Johnson Ave, Unit 412, Brooklyn

RSVP here

Take Our Survey on Healthcare and Pay Regulations

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.

Please take the survey and send it to your fellow drivers now.

Join us as a dues-paying member at http://IDG.ms/JOIN to keep the wins coming.

Uncategorized

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.

Updates

June Works Council Survey

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.”

Let us know what issues are most important to you. The top three options will be represented by your fellow drivers at the Works Council meeting.

Some of the topics of this survey are:

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.

Let us know what we should discuss, and what Guild organizers should focus on.

Solidarity,

Independent Drivers Guild

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.

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