Quartz | Allison Griswold
Uber has fought hard against the claim that its drivers are employees. But in most of the US, the company retains a very employer-like power—the right to unilaterally fire workers from the Uber platform.
This being the new digital economy, of course, Uber doesn’t think of this as firing. Rather, the company calls it deactivation. Uber can “deactivate” drivers for anything from misconduct to poor passenger ratings. It’s one reason the company’s five-star ratings system is notoriously inflated; drivers will sometimes beg passengers for a perfect review if their score has dropped precipitously low. In most cities, drivers who have been kicked off Uber’s platform have little recourse.
Until now. This month, the company finalized an agreement to let its more than 40,000 drivers in New York appeal deactivation decisions, in front of a panel of their peers.
The announcement comes six months after Uber first agreed to implement an appeals process, part of its recognition of the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG), a group that advocates for Uber drivers in New York.
Read the full article here: http://qz.com/843967/uber-drivers-fired-in-new-york-can-now-appeal-before-a-panel-of-their-peers/
The Guild exists to give you and your fellow working drivers a direct line to Uber management to discuss the issues with your working conditions that are important to you.
Take a short survey and let us know what issues are most important to you. The most popular options will be represented by your fellow drivers at the Works Council meeting.
Here are some of the issues and ideas drivers have brought up with us in the past few weeks:
- There should be due process like a transparent appeals process when Uber responds to customer feedback (or otherwise) and issues a refund which steals money from drivers.
- UberX drivers should be able to opt-out of UberPOOL.
- An increased fare on long trips could help cover the costs of deadheading (when you don’t have a customer with you) back to the city.
These issues were chosen in committee meetings over the last few weeks. Poll closes Friday, 11/25 at 5PM. Only New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission licensed drivers may vote.
Take this short poll and let us know what we should discuss.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to fill out this survey yet, we need to know which companies you want to talk to about getting basic protections. Protections like: an appeals against deactivation;
companies paying for benefits;
systems to protect you against company theft;
a seat at the table with company management to improve working conditions;
really anything. We need to use the power of working people to get company management to hear workers.
Which app companies are most important for us to bring to the table? Take this survey to let us know which apps you work for.
A very common issue we hear from drivers is a lack of parking in NYC.
That lack of parking makes it difficult for drivers like you to take breaks, use the bathroom, and the like, which can lead to painful health issues for long time drivers.
Tell us – where should the TLC place For Hire Vehicle parking in the city?
Last week, IDG Staff met with the Taxi and Limousine Commission to discuss getting more accessible bathrooms, or at the least, more FHV-only parking throughout the city. They agree, and would be interested in joining us in pushing the NYC Department of Transportation to convert Taxi stands to FHV stands and install more FHV stands throughout the city. But we need to know what the most important spots to get parking are.
Let us know where you think there should be new FHV stands here.
Thank you for your input.
In our last poll to you, 96% of members agreed that the Independent Drivers Guild should support the proposed NYC working driver’s healthcare bill.
We hear you, and we are working on it.
As I’m sure you’ve seen, today we launched a petition asking the City Council to move forward on the bill. Please sign it. Please share it. Please talk to your fellow drivers about it.
The only way we will win something like this is by bringing the community together, then applying pressure to elected officials.
Share and sign the petition here: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/move-forward-on-the-fhv-healthcare-bill?source=voteemail
In our last survey to IDG members, 36.6% said they do not have healthcare insurance.
It is appalling that in one of the most wealthy cities in America, the people responsible for the safe transportation of over 200,000 people per day don’t have access to affordable health insurance.
The New York City Council is working to fix that. Follow this link to let us know if the IDG should support their efforts.
The City Council is proposing a bill to pay the costs of healthcare benefits and expenses through a uniform surcharge on top of For Hire Vehicle fares. This bill authorizes the Taxi and Limousine Commission to research the necessary amount of the surcharge and will authorize an agency to administer the funds.
What does that mean for you? Potentially free healthcare. Let us know if you support it here.
The Independent Drivers Guild is reaching out you, our members, to see if more than two-thirds of you support or oppose this proposed bill.
Statement from Jim Conigliaro, Jr, founder of the Independent Drivers Guild on the news that Juno added tipping to their app:
Making tipping easy for passengers and drivers is a no brainer. It is an affront to the drivers who helped make millions of dollars for the app, that Uber executives continue to drag their feet on tipping. It’s time for Uber to join the rest of the industry and bring the tipping option to the app.
Uber has been stubbornly unwilling to give our riders an easy option to tip. As a result, New York’s working drivers are losing thousands of dollars they need for vehicle upkeep and supporting their families in one of the most expensive cities in America.
Uber makes the problem worse by misleading riders, telling them that “tips are not expected.”
To make this clear: tips are not included in the fare.
It’s clear to us that passengers and drivers alike must mobilize to win this basic right for service economy workers–and get Uber to add an easy tipping option. We urge passengers to join us by signing our petition.
While this is an important step for Juno, we urge the company to go further and give their drivers the basic protections they are asking for, like a seat at the table with management and the right to appeal deactivation.
We are committed to continuing the fight for policies that help working drivers make a fair living, while continuing to provide reliable and affordable rides.
The Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) is an affiliate of the Machinists Union (IAMAW – District 15) and represents more than 35,000 Uber drivers in New York City. The labor organization was the first to negotiate on behalf of Uber drivers, giving them a seat at the table with management to advocate for better earnings and workplace policies – as well as access to critical protections and discounted benefits. For twenty years, IAM District 15 has been a leading advocate for drivers in New York City, and to date is the only group to have successfully represented black car drivers. The Uber-IAM agreement will ensure drivers using Uber have a higher standard of protections and support than other independent contractors.
The Independent Drivers Guild Ad Campaign Calls On Uber to Offer In-App Tipping Option as Thousands Sign Petition
New York, NY –The Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) added yet another layer to their campaign urging Uber to create an in-app tipping option. The IDG, an affiliate of the Machinists Union (IAMAW – District 15) that represents more than 35,000 Uber drivers, is running a digital advertising campaign to put more pressure on Uber to make tipping easier for Uber passengers by creating the in-app function. The digital ad campaign is aimed at drivers and passengers alike and includes ads on major social media platforms like Facebook and Reddit as well as search engine advertising geared to those who search for Uber and related keywords.
The digital advertising campaign is just the latest tactic deployed by IDG drivers this summer. Just a few weeks ago, the IDG launched a petition that has already amassed more than 7,500 signatures calling on Uber to add a tipping function. The guild has been busy raising public awareness about tipping by distributing free stickers to drivers to let passengers know tips are appreciated. Drivers are also conducting community outreach, including distributing bar napkins at establishments popular with Uber passengers.
“Both passengers and drivers want tipping to be as easy as possible. We are urging passengers to stand with drivers and call on Uber to offer an in-app tipping option,” said Jim Conigliaro, Jr, founder of the Independent Drivers Guild.
The Guild launched the campaign earlier this summer after tipping was named the top issue of concern in a survey of its membership.
“Tips are for great service. If you go get a haircut or a car wash – you tip, it’s an American tradition,” said Uber driver and IDG member Mario Sariors of Queens, NY. “For me, I use my tips for food, gas, and to get my car washed. And most importantly, it makes me feel good that I was rewarded for providing exceptional service. It’s easy to tip for everyone else, why not drivers?”
Uber passengers pay for their rides through an app, not through cash, but currently the app does not allow passengers the option to tip their drivers. While Uber competitors, including other apps and taxis, give passengers the flexibility to tip in the app or on their credit card payment screen, Uber does not. This has led to fewer tips and confusion for passengers, some of whom have told drivers that they weren’t sure if tipping was permitted — or already included in the fare.
Other passengers tell drivers they wish they could tip in the app. In-app tipping makes tipping faster and easier for passengers. Part of Uber’s appeal is the ability to pay without spending time on a cash or credit card transaction in the vehicle and many passengers apologetically tell drivers that they can’t tip because they don’t have cash.
“With the Guild providing workers a direct line to Uber management, drivers can create real change that puts more dollars in their pockets. Making tipping easier is one way we can do that,” added Conigliaro, Jr. “We are committed to continuing the fight for policies that help Uber drivers make a fair living, while continuing to provide reliable and affordable rides.”
Since the launch of the Independent Drivers Guild in May, the guild has taken a number of steps to stand up for drivers. The IDG has helped drivers bring concerns about deactivation to Uber’s attention and has helped get drivers reinstated. Additionally, the IDG has raised concerns about driver support from Uber management, including an inability to get support personnel on the phone in a timely manner. As a result, Uber has taken steps and made commitments to improve communications. The Guild also offers discounts for drivers on insurance and other important services.
All New York City Uber drivers are represented by the IDG and can receive tipping stickers as well as access to expert deactivation representation and discounts on important benefits, including insurance and roadside assistance. 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).
Follow us on Twitter @drivingguild
MarketWatch | Caitlin Huston
While Uber Technologies Inc. sees the launch of its self-driving car program as a step forward in transportation, its drivers are not so sure.
Uber announced Wednesday that it had begun a pilot program of self-driving cars in Pittsburgh for select passengers. Right now, the driverless cars come with a human engineer who intervenes when necessary, but drivers fear a future in which they will be entirely replaced by software and sensors.
Jim Conigliaro Jr., founder of the Independent Drivers Guild, which represents 35,000 Uber drivers in the New York City area, said he found the launch “concerning” particularly because Uber has been working with regulators to allow ride-hailing in cities on the premise that it brings jobs to the community.
“We don’t expect Uber to move to driverless cars in New York City anytime soon, but they can expect we would launch an aggressive campaign, the likes of which they have yet to see, to halt such a move,” Conigliaro Jr. said in an email.
Conigliaro added that New York City currently bans driverless cars and his group would “aggressively fight” to keep those laws in place. New York law stipulates that drivers must have one hand on the steering wheel at all time, a stronger standard than other states.
Read the full article here: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/uber-drivers-wont-accept-autonomous-cars-without-a-fight-2016-09-15
AMNY | Vin Barone
The group representing Uber drivers in New York City has launched a petition calling for the e-hail company to offer in-app tipping.
The online petition, launched Thursday by the Independent Drivers Guild, quickly surpased 1,000 signatures from the city’s pool of about 35,000 Uber drivers.
The guild hopes to put pressure on Uber to add a tip feature to its app as part of a larger public awareness campaign to remind customers that tips aren’t factored into drivers’ pay.
“In-app tipping would be a clear path to put thousands of dollars back into drivers’ pockets,” said Jim Conigliaro Jr., founder of the guild, a joint project between the Machinists Union and independent Uber drivers. “Drivers in the industry—especially drivers in the industry before Uber—derived a lot of income from tips.
“Taxi drivers have always been tipped at the end of ride,” he continued. “Black car companies typically would include tips as extra line item in their vouchers—it’s always been a part of the for-hire vehicle industry.”
The guild will be rallying over the next month, handing out flyers and distributing bar napkins with text declaring that Uber customers should be able to tip their drivers as easily as they could tip their bartenders.
Read the full article here: http://www.amny.com/transit/uber-drivers-call-for-in-app-tipping-option-in-online-petition-1.12165291