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

Updates

Benefits Survey

Already the Independent Drivers Guild is being viewed as a leader in the space of getting drivers like you benefits, and others are looking to us for guidance on policies for workers nationwide. Now you can help shape benefits for For-Hire Vehicle workers across the country.

The Independent Drivers Guild works to put more money in your pocket and win better working conditions for all. We know it’s vital for the Guild to provide healthcare, disability, a retirement fund, and group accident insurance. We will have good news to report to you soon. Your input will help us set a standard for providing these benefits, and you can find the benefits and discounts currently available at members.drivingguild.org

Please take the survey below to help set a standard for workers’ benefits:

Updates

Tipping TLC Petition—Frequently Asked Questions

Why would we be fighting for a tipping option instead of a pay increase?

The Guild is fighting for both, we don’t have to choose between a tipping option OR higher pay. Both things should happen, and we’ve been on public record with the Taxi and Limousine Commission in support of pay protections since our inception. Out of precaution, we included language in our petition to the Taxi and Limousine Commission to end the rule if it is any way a hindrance to implementing pay protection. It specifically states: “This rule shall be in effect indefinitely or until the Taxi and Limousine Commission implements a regulatory scheme that ensures drivers are earning a living wage.”

What does the petition to the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) do, and how is it different from the online petition I signed?

The petition we submitted requires the Taxi and Limousine Commission make a yes or no decision on a proposed rule within 60 days (and counting) to approve a rule that implements a tipping option. The rules for petitioning to the TLC are written in the laws that govern the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

I’m not thrilled with [this app or that app’s] tipping option, will this only affect Uber, or the other apps as well?

Our proposed rule states: “All applications for smartphones, tablets, laptops, notebooks or any other interface used to arrange and pay for For-Hire Vehicle (FHV) rides throughout New York City and under the jurisdiction of the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) are hereby required to have an in-application gratuity option. The entire amount of the gratuity option is to be given directly to the driver.“

The rule we proposed is very open, it only requires some kind of option. That could mean that the tip is included in the fare, it could mean that it’s a minimum tip of 20%, as long as the companies aren’t taking a commission from our member, it’s flexible. The Taxi and Limousine Commission also may change the rule before implementing it—which means they could make it like the Taxicab Passenger Enhancements Project rule where it’s a minimum opt-out tip of 20%, or they could make it so if there is an optional tipping option after the fare, it has to always appear, not only when you rate five stars and it disappears after two hours.

Does the TLC have the authority to implement a tipping option?

Within the Black Car industry, absolutely. Under Chapter 52 of the New York City Administrative Code, including but not limited to §52-04 sub paragraph (a)(2) requires that the TLC ”Set and enforce standards and conditions of service.” And subparagraph (a)(4) requires the TLC “Establish and enforce standards to ensure all Licensees are and remain financially stable.”

I like getting cash tips. Wouldn’t this just make it so the government can take a part of my tips?

A huge part of the problem that Uber created along with the narrative that ‘tips aren’t necessary’ was a culture against gratuity for attentive, safe service. As a result, even cash tips are a rarity.

If the Taxi and Limousine Commission agrees that tips are a necessary part of our member’s pay, and a way for driving to be more of a dignified profession, it will attack the anti-tip narrative at the core. Some people will always tip in cash (most likely other service industry workers), but the customers that don’t know that a tip is expected, or don’t carry cash with them will be much more likely to leave a tip. After the Taxi and Limousine Commission imposed a tip option by credit card in Yellow Cabs, 93-94% of their taxi customers began to tip. In fact, in the first half of 2015, 97% of customers who rode in a taxi solo and paid by credit card took advantage of that option, most tipping at 20%, according to a Quartz analysis of data from the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. This may be a huge improvement from the rare cash tip of today.

Also, you should be reporting your cash tips anyways.

Wouldn’t this rule reduce drivers’ pay because they would be considered tipped labor?

No. Right now For-Hire Vehicle workers are classified as independent contractors so they’re exempt from wage laws, including laws about a tipped labor wage. However, the Taxi and Limousine Commission is responsible for regulation of the working conditions and pay of our members within the current organization of the industry. This industry is new and constantly changing, which makes it difficult to regulate, but every year without a tipping option our members lose between $3,000-$13,000 per year, conservatively, for no logical reason.

Why is Uber against a tipping option?

In the first Works Council meeting, where member-activists met with Uber management to discuss issues on the job, their argument, and reason they want to keep our members from making more money is because ‘they’re special.’ Meanwhile, we’re defaulting on our credit cards, on food stamps, dependent on the Affordable Care Act, and likely never going to retire. We think Uber likely refuses to implement a tip option to keep our income low so we have to work longer hours to make ends meet.

Isn’t tipping option incompatible with Uber’s model?

No. Uber had a tipping option for years until they were sued for skimming from the tips (our petition prevents that). Tipping is a standard of the For-Hire Vehicle industry which provides necessary income for our members to make ends meet.

Many people are misinformed that For-Hire Vehicle workers are paid enough to make a tip unnecessary, or that tips are included in the fare (they haven’t been for years)—but that doesn’t make any sense when our members are working dangerously long shifts to get by. Just with the per-mile fare, since 2011, Uber has gone from advertising their main per-mile rate of $4.90 per mile all the way down to to $1.75 now–and more than doubled the commission that they charge our members on every ride from 10 percent to as high as 28 percent. As a result, according to a survey from us, more than 30 percent of our members cannot afford healthcare.

Will tips really make a big difference in my income as a driver?

Yes! If our member is tipped at an average of two dollars per trip which is the average for Taxis, our average member may earn over $12,000 a year in tips. Tips are necessary to buy gas for the week, get an oil change, or even just buy food for our families.