Press Releases

The Independent Drivers Guild Launches Campaign for JFK Bathroom

Uber Drivers’ Petition Calls For Bathroom at JFK Airport

New York, NY — There’s a problem that For Hire Vehicle drivers have been trying to address for years – there’s no place for drivers to use the bathroom at JFK airport. While passengers, taxi drivers, and even pets have access to a restroom at JFK, ridesharing drivers wait in a satellite lot with no facilities. As ridesharing drivers wait for passengers making their way through one of the world’s busiest airports, there is no safe, clean place to use the restroom.

The Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) is launching a petition calling for a bathroom at JFK airport: LINK

“It’s a grim situation in the waiting lot. Half-filled bottles of questionable origin and odor litter the cell phone lot, where the only place to go to the bathroom currently is a section of the parking lot where there are a few anemic bushes,” said Sohail Rana, Uber Driver & IDG Committee Member.

“The lack of clean, accessible bathrooms for drivers has been a problem for too long. The atrocious situation at JFK airport must be corrected,” said Independent Drivers Guild founder Jim Conigliaro, Jr. “Drivers have been bringing this up to the authorities and rideshare companies for years with no progress – but with the power of the Guild we intend to win this basic necessity.”

The airports are always one of the busiest locations for ridesharing drivers, but the increased travel at the holiday season means drivers will be spending even more time at JFK. Limiting access to clean restrooms and handwashing facilities is a health threat for drivers, who face increased risk of infection, as well as for the broader public.

“Ridesharing passengers would be shocked to see the conditions these drivers are subjected to,” added Conigliaro, Jr. “We invite passengers and the public to stand with us by signing the petition to correct this indignity.”

The Guild is spreading the word through emails, texts, and social media:

https://twitter.com/drivingguild

https://www.facebook.com/DrivingGuild/

The IDG is a labor organization representing and advocating for more than 45,000 Uber drivers serving New York City and is an affiliate of the Machinists Union (IAMAW – District 15).

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News

Uber drivers: JFK airport lacks sufficient bathroom access

AMNY | Vin Barone

When drivers for Uber need to use the bathroom at John F. Kennedy Airport, they reverse-park their car in the Cell Phone Lot, pop the trunk and turn to the lot’s chain link fence.

It’s the most discreet way for a male driver to relieve himself without leaving the airport entirely and sacrificing his spot on the lengthy, Uber pick-up queue. And if you’re a woman, forget it.

“It’s barbaric,” said Valerie Brathwaite, a Jamaica, Queens, resident who has driven for Uber for two years, during a recent trip to the lot. “Obviously, there is no place for a woman to relieve herself when she’s waiting for a ride. If you leave, then you lose your place.”

Accessing a restroom has always been challenging for cabbies and black car drivers in New York City. They often have to weigh missing out on fares, or possibly collecting a hefty parking ticket to find a restroom.

Recently, the surge of drivers for Uber and Lyft has presented new problems on this front—particularly at regional airports, like John F. Kennedy and Newark, where there are facilities for taxi drivers, but no options for the growing number of black car drivers.

“Uber drivers are so new that the infrastructure hasn’t caught up,” said Ryan Price, executive director of the Independent Drivers Guild, a Machinists Union affiliate that represents the company’s drivers in New York City.

The guild launched a petition Thursday to rally for bathroom access at JFK. Price said the guild has requested the Port Authority to install and maintain some form of portable restroom in the Cell Phone Lot.

Read the full article here:

http://www.amny.com/transit/uber-drivers-jfk-airport-lacks-sufficient-bathroom-access-1.12764490

Updates

Notes from the 11/29 Works Council meeting with Uber

I wanted to send you a follow up note about the results from the last Works Council survey and some notes on the meeting. If you would like to be involved in our ongoing group discussion and be the first to hear about updates, join us in Slack.

Thank you for voting on which issues should be brought up to Uber management. The top issues that you voted on were:

It’s mostly good news. In fact, the best news wasn’t on the survey, but is straight from the General Manager of Uber NY’s mouth:

“Don’t expect to see anymore price cuts”

Again, join us on Slack to get more involved with our group discussion and be the first to know when there is news.

Updates

If you want fair pay, you have to fight for it

Tomorrow, Tuesday November 29th, the Fight for $15 is organizing a National Day of Disruption at Zuccotti Park (5:30am onward), in an effort to inspire workers to come together and change the politics of the United States around wages and earnings.

But For-Hire Vehicle workers have always been left behind in the fight for a livable income.

The Independent Drivers Guild is the first and only group that has brought the Taxi and Limousine Commission to the table to consider fare protections for working drivers like you. But Uber misleads the public, and public officials, to believe that people like you take home more than $20 an hour.

We say: No way.

And so have the dozens of IDG members that have met with the Taxi and Limousine Commission. That’s why the TLC sent out an official survey last Friday–so they can have a grasp of how much money you are actually taking home.

Take the official Taxi and Limousine Commission survey now.

We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of the Fight for $15, and we hope you get involved with the Guild’s ongoing fight to fix the working conditions of every For-Hire Vehicle worker and ensure you’re taking home a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

News

Uber drivers fired in New York can now appeal before a panel of their peers

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/

 

Updates

Input needed: November driver council meeting with Uber

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:

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.

Updates

What apps do you work for?

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.

Updates

Need a parking spot?

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.

Updates

Healthcare bill vote results/petition

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

Updates

Healthcare Bill Vote

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.