Travel at speed limit or flow of traffic – Is it worth risking your life to save a few minutes during a trip? Your decisions behind the wheel not only affect you but also the ones you love. Don’t get into an accident being inpatient, this will impact life, health and your income.
Bad Weather Driving – Please slow down!!! Safe driving is always based on weather. The first snowfall of the year showed us that any change in weather can lead to bad road conditions. Weather can turn traffic into a nightmare, due to major accidents. Remember your family needs you home safely.
Passenger Safety – Take time to make sure your passengers are picked-up and dropped off safely at their destinations. Make sure the passenger’s entrance/exit is clear of bikers, skateboarders, truckers, public officers, etc…
Traffic Laws – Some passengers will ask you to break the law, please consider the consequences of those actions, be gentle in turning them down, let your App company know this immediately.
Seat Belts – You’re not required to have passengers wear them unless they sit in the front passenger’s seat, however, if they have children please ask them to kindly have their kids wear the seat belt for their safety.
Drunken Passengers – Keep your cool, your livelihood is more important than getting upset with drunk passengers. You have the opportunity to place a sticker sign on your passenger’s windows that states “You are being videotaped and recorded.” We encourage drivers to buy camera mounts (if unable, use your camera phones) to videotape unruly customers for your protection. “Do not touch the passengers under any circumstances, please call 911 for assistance.
Street Hail – Please do not pick up street hails. In the past drivers have been shot, stabbed, and killed due to limited protections.
High Beams – Please remember that you can hinder the sight of drivers in oncoming traffic if your high beams are used incorrectly. Please turn your lights down until oncoming traffic clears your path.
Flat Tires – When you have a flat tire, please pull over to a safe location, your life matters.
This work, moving New York to where it wants to be, isn’t easy. Pay is low, expenses are high, TLC and NYPD cops are out to get us, and to top it all off, some customers are…difficult.
The IDG exists to not only build power for a fair industry, but we are a community of drivers looking out for one another. One way we do that is by offering classes for free for New York City drivers, or people that want to be drivers, to talk about the reality of the industry and to build community with experienced drivers.
One of our key classes is the Defensive Driving Class, which all Taxi and Limousine Commission-licensed drivers are required to take every three years. It is so popular because you will be paid $300 from the Black Car Fund to attend, you can have 4 points removed from your license, and you can get a 10% insurance reduction when you take the class.
The media is reporting the seventh known suicide in the last year in this industry, and the second of our members to take their lives under pressure of overwhelming debt. It’s a tragedy we wish we could have prevented and our sincere sympathies go out to the friends and family of Fausto Luna.
The For-Hire Vehicle industry is in a far reaching crisis that is affecting thousands of families across our city right now. After years of sub minimum wage pay, mounting bills and punishing shifts, drivers for apps like Uber and Lyft are at the breaking point along with drivers across the for-hire vehicle industry.
Our message to drivers is to take heart: we are SO close to making this industry so much better, and you are not alone. We are about to win a massive raise and we are united in fighting for a fair industry. We encourage all of our members to reach out to NYC Well and get involved in the IDG where we take care of each other like brothers and sisters.
This industry and this job is debilitatingly lonely by design. As a member elegantly said at a meeting: “In here we are brothers, but on the streets we are wolves.” The working conditions of the industry pits people who should be working together as brothers and sisters against one another in a constant battle of who gets the next trip, who cuts who off, and who goes first. Though drivers are with people all day, they are often treated by their passengers as subhuman, alienated from their humanity, and underpaid for it to boot.
But the core of this crisis is economic, which is why we have been fighting for the city to enact a livable wage. It is hard to not be depressed when you are working 60 hours a week and still not making enough money to provide for your family. We also need a crisis response that meets drivers where they are, so we are in the process of establishing a mental health and wellness program including prevention, counseling and crisis response.
We have worked over the last year to create and secure funding for a mental health and wellness plan including hiring a psychologist and social worker. The Independent Drivers Guild has secured a grant from the Black Car Fund for this program and is currently hiring and will be launching the program in the coming months.
Come to the next IDG General Meeting to learn more about our ongoing fight for fair pay and a fairer industry. We need to come together and show the City Council that enough is enough – we need fair leasing and fair pay now!
Please join us at this important meeting on Tuesday, November 6th @7PM to discuss our strategy. We need YOUR support!
Free parking opens up at 7PM and there will be food available, as always!
New IDG Data: Average Lease Cost is Nearly Triple the City’s Estimate in Pay Proposal
New York, NY — After a two year campaign by the Independent Drivers Guild, New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission held a hearing TODAY Wednesday, October 3rd on the nation’s first livable wage rules for drivers for apps like Uber and Lyft. The city’s proposed rules, put forward following the Guild’s campaign and regulatory petition, would mean a 22.5% raise for drivers, a pay increase if Uber and Lyft over-hire, and annual cost of living increases.
The proposed pay structure is a vital and revolutionary move toward regulating the app-based industry to make it more fair for working people. However, the Guild found that the city’s proposal underestimates driver costs in several areas, most dramatically in the areas of vehicle lease and rental costs and in the cost of benefits. The IDG, which represents more than 65,000 app-based drivers in New York City, is calling for the Commission to fix the cost estimates in light of this new data and then pass the amended rules swiftly.
While the city estimated lease costs at $635 per month, new data collected by the IDG shows the actual cost incurred by drivers averages nearly three times that. The IDG collected lease data from more than 500 app-based drivers who reported paying an average of more than $1800 per month. This is consistent with the lease prices offered at the city’s major leasing companies for compact sedans. Many leases include industry-specific liability insurance, and some require extra fees to purchase TLC insurance. But even if you combine the city estimates for leasing and insurance ($400/month), the city’s total ($1035 per month) still comes up far short of the average reported by drivers. What’s more, the city’s pay formula assumed that 80 percent of drivers own their vehicles and just twenty percent lease or rent, but multiple IDG surveys found that the breakdown is 60 percent own and 40 percent lease or rent. The IDG is calling on the city to update its pay formula to reflect the reality of drivers’ expenses
Additionally, the city’s proposed pay formula fails to account for the many benefits that employees receive, like health insurance, disability, Unemployment Insurance and several other benefits that drivers must bear the risk for. A report from the Economic Policy Institute analyzing Uber driver pay earlier this year concluded that the cost shifted to drivers for standard benefits equals 14.1 percent of wages. This is a significant expense that is omitted from the city formula.
Furthermore, the $15 per hour salary at the core of the city’s calculations is lower than the industry standard for professional drivers who have obtained specialized licensure, as is required for for-hire vehicle drivers in New York City. For example, minimum pay for the city’s MTA bus drivers is currently $23.85 per hour — and that is before a laundry list of benefits, none of which Uber and Lyft drivers receive and which are not accounted for in the city’s calculations. A fair base rate before expenses would be a minimum of $20 per hour as employees, $22.96 as independent contractors, to bring the FHV sector closer in line with the industry and to account for the lack of benefits.
“For two years, we’ve fought for fair pay rules for New York City drivers. We are pleased that New York is listening to drivers who have long suffered with earnings that fall below minimum wage, but it’s critical that the city get this right. While the city’s proposal has many strong points, the current version underestimates drivers’ costs. The average driver pays nearly triple the cost the city estimated for leases – and a much larger portion of drivers lease than the city’s formula assumes. What’s more, the city formula fails to account for the costs shifted to drivers to pay for their own benefits like health care – the pay rate needs to reflect that,” said Ryan Price, Executive Director of the Independent Drivers Guild.
“Working families like mine are desperate for a raise and quick passage of these rules, but the city can’t call this a livable wage if the numbers do not reflect reality. We are urging the city to correct their cost estimates and then pass these rules without further delay,” said IDG member Tina Raveneau who drives for apps like Uber and Lyft. “As a working, single mom, I really appreciate that the city is taking action for fair pay, but they need to know their numbers are flat out wrong and they are missing some of the big expenses other employees take for granted. I pay $429 per week to lease my little Nissan Sentra compact sedan – that is triple the cost estimate in the city’s proposal. The city’s math assumes the average driver is paying less than $150 per week, which simply is not the case. Look at the ads at all the major companies, leases START at $350 or $375 – and that’s for little old cars.”
More than 16,000 drivers signed the IDG’s petition to require a minimum pay rate for apps like Uber and Lyft. To force action, the IDG filed a formal rulemaking petition in March and the city responded in May that it planned to act on pay rules this summer. In August, the city council passed and Mayor de Blasio signed legislation requiring the Taxi and Limousine Commission to set minimum payments for drivers for high volume app-based for-hire vehicle services like Uber and Lyft. See more on the city’s rulemaking process here. The IDG used the same regulatory and legislative tactics to require Uber to add a tipping option to the app last year. Just months after the city greenlighted the IDG’s proposed tipping rules, Uber added a tipping option not only for New York City (its biggest market) but for drivers across the U.S.
The Independent Drivers Guild is an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and represents and advocates for more than 65,000 app-based drivers in New York City. We are Uber, Lyft, Juno, and Via drivers united for a fair for-hire vehicle industry.
After 2 years of fighting, the IDG forced the TLC to have a hearing about raising driver pay. On October 3rd, we will demand an industry wide pay raise so that we can provide for our families and cover our expenses. We need you to stand with us at 6:00 PM on October 3rd to fight for the raise that we all deserve. Without you, we cannot win.
Come to the next IDG General Meeting to get ready to fight for FAIR LEASING REGULATIONS at the City Council hearing on September 17th. We need to come together and show the City Council that enough is enough – we need fair leasing regulations now!
Please join us at this important meeting on Tuesday, September 4th at 7PM to discuss our strategy to fight and win fair leasing costs. We need YOUR support! Free parking opens up at 7PM and there will be food available, as always!
Earlier this week, New York City drivers achieved a dramatic victory in the passage of new worker-friendly laws. These new rules will ensure fair pay and will slow the over-hiring by Uber and Lyft.
But there is a new fight ahead. The truth is because of taxi influence, the City Council did not listen to our demand for a driver cap, and instead implemented a temporary cap on vehicles. Because of that, we expect huge increases in leasing costs to be already underway.
If your leasing company attempts to raise the cost of your lease, let us know. Send us screenshots or photos of the cost of your lease. Sign the petition if you want to make sure all drivers are treated fairly.
Historic Victory for NYC’s Uber/Lyft Drivers Comes on Heels of the Guild Winning Vision and Telemedicine Health Benefits in July
New York, NY — Today, the Independent Drivers Guild joined New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and made brief remarks before he signed historic Uber / Lyft bills into law, including the nation’s first living wage protection for Uber and Lyft drivers. The IDG waged a two year campaign for the pay protections which will give more than 65,000 hard working New York City drivers and their families a desperately needed raise – see the timeline here: https://drivingguild.org/2018/06/29/pay-3/ And IDG’s statement on the bills’ passage here: https://drivingguild.org/2018/08/08/955/
IDG founder Jim Conigliaro, Jr, who has been organizing drivers in this industry since he was sixteen alongside his father with the Machinists Union, told the Mayor and city officials, “Truth is, throughout my time, the City Council and the TLC turned their backs on the black car industry, profiting from its labor while drivers struggled to survive. But this Council, this Mayor and this TLC are changing things.” Conigliaro Jr. also called on the city to stop predatory leasing practices and pass benefit fund legislation to ensure drivers a broader social safety net in addition to the historic vision and health telemedicine benefits the IDG won for drivers this summer through the Black Car Fund.
IDG Member and Uber driver Aziz Bah also spoke, thanking the mayor, the council and the TLC and urging them to always “put the drivers first.”
IDG Fair Pay Campaign: By The Numbers
16,000 petition signatures
7,400 emails to city officials
>1750 phone calls to city officials
304 IDG members/ drivers demonstrated at City Hall in April, including a vehicle caravan over the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall
4,000 flyers distributed
615 drivers signed the first sign-on letter in July 2016
Below is the prepared testimony of Conigliaro, Jr (see video here):
Testimony of Jim Conigliaro Jr., President and Founder
The Independent Drivers Guild
Before Mayor Bill de Blasio
Public Hearing on Introductory Numbers 890-B, 144-B and 838-C
City Hall, August 14, 2018
Good afternoon, Mayor de Blasio, Council Members, my name is Jim Conigliaro, Jr. and I am speaking today as the founder of the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG), and representative of the Machinists Union (IAM), which the IDG is an affiliate of. We represent and advocate for 65,000 Uber, Lyft, Juno, and Via drivers. Ninety percent of our members are immigrants representing 190 countries and fighting for the American dream. And on behalf of our members, we support this historic package of bills.
I have been organizing black car drivers with my father and the Machinists Union since I was 16. Over the years, we had some success unionizing black car drivers but we were never able to make broader change for all drivers. Never had a voice with the people making the rules.
Truth is, throughout my time, the City Council and the TLC turned their backs on the black car industry, profiting from its labor while drivers struggled to survive. But this Council, this Mayor and this TLC are changing things.
Under the IDG umbrella, and along with all the driver-activists that are here today, the hundreds that turned out during committee meetings, and the over 16,000 drivers that signed the IDG petition demanding a living wage, drivers finally have a voice to make that broad regulatory change. That voice led to the passage of 890-B, requiring the basic protection of a living wage for hard-working drivers and their families who have seen their incomes and quality of life plummet while the app-based companies revenues and profits have soared to record levels.
I want to thank the Mayor and his team — TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi, Jon Paul Lupo and Jeff Lynch; Speaker Corey Johnson and his staff, especially Laura Popa and her team; and Council Members Brad Lander, Steven Levin and their staff for listening to drivers and inviting the IDG to the table on these historic bills.
But we can’t stop here.
It is essential New York City caps leasing costs as soon as possible. App-Based companies will continue nonstop hiring with false promises and this has already led to higher leasing costs.
And while the IDG is successfully expanding the benefits available to drivers through the state’s Black Car Fund, further expansion of the Social Safety Net on the City level is essential.
It’s a new day, but we have a lot of catching up to do in this industry.
Thank you Mr. Mayor, and of course, on behalf of IDG and IAM, I respectfully request that you sign the package of bills before you today.