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Letter to TLC

Taxi and Limousine Commission
33 Beaver St
New York, NY 10004

Dear Acting Commissioner and the Board of Commissioners,

As representatives and advocates for more than 70,000 app-based drivers in New York City we are writing to request urgent enforcement action with regard to a high volume for-hire vehicle company in violation of Commission rules.

 

Yesterday, Lyft informed its New York City drivers that effective June 27, 2019, the company will be subjecting them to new rules that violate the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s pay protection rules, which passed in December of 2018 and went into effect in February of this year.

In a message to New York City drivers as well as a blog post, Lyft announced that it plans to eliminate driver access to the app in periods and areas of low demand and will require drivers who wish to access the app to drive to a location of higher demand or wait until demand increases to access the app. By logging drivers off the app and requiring them to travel to an area of higher demand in order to pick up their next trip, Lyft would be shifting the costs of travel and waiting time onto the drivers and in so doing, violate this commission’s rules.

In the Commission’s statement of basis and purpose for the pay rules, it clearly states that these rules establish a minimum per-trip payment formula that takes into account “drivers’ total working time, both time spent driving passengers as well as time waiting for a dispatch and then traveling to pick up passengers.” Drivers are paid by mile and minute rates which are determined using a utilization rate which works as a multiplier so that drivers are compensated for the minutes and miles with and without a rider in the vehicle.

 

If an app company simply stops counting the miles and minutes when a driver is waiting for dispatch or traveling to their next pick up location by logging drivers out of the app, the company is not making dispatch more efficient. The drivers are still driving those miles and waiting those minutes. But now those miles and minutes are not accounted for in the pay formula, so driver pay rates go down. If all of the drivers’ miles and minutes are not counted toward the utilization rate, it means drivers aren’t getting paid for those miles and minutes.

Given the competitive, race to the bottom nature of the high volume app-based for-hire vehicle services, we urge the Commission to take swift action to stop Lyft and any other app companies tempted to follow suit from enacting policies that manipulate access to the app in a way that would obscure and fail to account for the “drivers’ total working time, both time spent driving passengers as well as time waiting for a dispatch and then traveling to pick up passengers.”

Furthermore, we call on the commission and city leaders to switch the power dynamic that enables app companies to manipulate thousands of hard working drivers in our city. By limiting new TLC drivers’ licenses instead of limiting vehicles, the city can empower the more than 70,000 New Yorkers who drive for-hire vehicles for a living. Instead of having app companies kick excess drivers off their apps, companies would have to compete for workers with better pay or policies. Amending the cap policy in this way would also give workers the option of ownership rather than being beholden to predatory leasing companies.

Thank you in advance for your swift attention to this issue as it serves all parties to ensure there is a universal understanding of the app companies’ obligations not to obscure drivers’ working time in a way that will reduce drivers’ rightful compensation.

Sincerely,

Brendan Sexton
Independent Drivers Guild

News | Press Releases

NYC Drivers Snarl Morning Traffic, Hold 300 Person Rally Outside Uber and Lyft Offices

Drivers Take Action Across US, Around the World

Three hundred members of the Independent Drivers Guild rallied outside Uber and Lyft NYC offices this morning in solidarity with drivers across the country and around the world organizing for fair pay. The Drivers Guild also led a very slow vehicle procession through the city this morning. The protest procession slowly made its way over the Brooklyn Bridge at 8 AM, through Wall Street, past the Uber office in Manhattan, and across the 59th St Bridge to the Uber and Lyft NYC driver headquarters in Queens. See all the livestream footage at Facebook.com/drivingguild and more photos shared on https://twitter.com/DrivingGuild.

“Never before have we seen so many drivers all over the world take action together. I think Uber and Lyft are more than a little nervous today that their days of paying poverty wages are numbered,” said IDG member and app-based driver Tina Raveneau. “Together we are raising our voices and today we are being heard.”

“Drivers built Uber and Lyft and it is wrong that so many drivers continue to be paid less than minimum wage while Silicon Valley investors gets rich off their labor. All Uber and Lyft drivers deserve fair pay and we stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers across the nation and around the world,” said Brendan Sexton, Executive Director of the Independent Drivers Guild, a Machinists Union affiliate which represents more than 70,000 app-based drivers in NYC.

The Independent Drivers Guild led a two year campaign to win the nation’s first minimum pay rules for app-based drivers in New York City, which regulators projected would increase pay by an average of $10,000 per year.  As part of that campaign, the Guild led a procession over the Brooklyn Bridge to win fair pay rules for drivers one year ago. One year later the Guild is back fighting for drivers across the nation and around the world who still make less than minimum wage.

IDG is a Machinists Union affiliate which represents and advocates for more than 70,000 app-based drivers in NYC. The Guild led a two year campaign, amassing more than 16,000 signatures, and formally petitioned the city for the pay rules which are the nation’s first minimum wage rules for drivers for apps like Uber and Lyft. New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission projected the rules would raise pay for New York City drivers by nearly $10,000 per year.

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 [email protected]

Press Releases

Drivers Guild Calls on FTC to Investigate Juno’s Illegal Deception of Drivers

New Petition: Stop The Deception: Tell the TLC to Protect Drivers’ Pay

New York, NY — Today, the Independent Driver Guild (IDG) filed a formal complaint against Juno and Gett with the Federal Trade Commission for deliberately and egregiously misleading both current and prospective Juno drivers with false claims that drivers would share in Juno’s success through its “Restrictive Stock Units” (RSU) program. The IDG also requested a full investigation into when Juno first learned that its RSU program was potentially illegal. If the company failed to inform drivers and continued to lie to current and prospective drivers after learning the program might be illegal, that is a violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act which prohibits “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce” including misrepresentations or deceptive omissions of material facts. Read the full complaint here: http://drivingguild.org/juno- ftc-letter-1/

The IDG also launched a petition today urging New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission to stop the exploitation of drivers once and for all by enacting industry-wide protections. Those protections include regulated minimum pay, protection against oversaturation of vehicles, and the right to appeal if a company underpays or fails to pay a driver for a completed service.

The IDG is an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and represents and advocates for 50,000 ride-hail drivers in New York City, including approximately 20,000 members who have driven for app-based for-hire vehicle company Juno. Juno recruited drivers with the promise of equity in the company only to sell the company to Gett without sharing proceeds with the drivers. The IDG found that Juno was contacted by the Securities and Exchange Commission about the RSU program several months before the company’s April sale and may have misled drivers for months until they could sell the company. IDG members who drive for Juno asked the IDG to step in to hold the company accountable.

“Juno misled drivers on both the company’s intention to share a stake with drivers and the value of the shares program. Working drivers played an indispensable role in building Juno and should share in the company’s success and sale proceeds as promised,” said Ryan Price, Executive Director of the Independent Drivers Guild. “The Federal Trade Commission held Uber accountable for their lies about driver pay and now we are seeking their help in holding Juno accountable as well.”

“Juno’s shameful deception of drivers is just the latest in a long history of broken promises and shady tactics in this industry. Year after year, companies like Uber, Lyft, Juno and Gett become more valuable on the backs of hard-working New Yorkers who lack the basic protection of a minimum wage. Drivers need industry-wide protections to stop the exploitation once and for all,” said IDG founder Jim Conigliaro Jr. “Drivers keep our city moving and we are asking customers and drivers alike to sign on to our petition for basic protections in an industry that has run amok.”

Many for hire vehicle drivers have no access to traditional worker protections like retirement plans, group health insurance, or even paid time off. Nine in ten New York City ride-hail drivers are immigrants and most IDG members drive 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. Learn more here: http://drivingguild.org/wp-co ntent/uploads/2017/04/IDG-flye r-2.pdf

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 [email protected]

Press Releases

The Independent Drivers Guild Celebrates Tipping Victory Over Uber

Rule Means Raise of $300 Million for NYC Drivers
NYC Green Lights Drivers’ Proposal to Require Uber Tipping Option

New York, NY –Today, New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) sided with drivers in their push to require ride-hail apps to offer an in-app tipping option as a first step to protect working drivers in an industry known for misleading drivers about earnings and deploying invasive and exploitative tactics. The TLC granted the petition from the Independent Drivers Guild to create a rule that would force Uber, the app with the largest market share in the city, to conform to industry standards. The Guild estimates the rule will mean an additional $300 million per year for New York City drivers.

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. See the IDG tipping fact sheet here: http://drivingguild.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/IDG-flyer-2.pdf

“Today’s decision is a vitally important step forward for drivers. In-app tipping will mean a raise of hundreds of millions of dollars for New York City drivers each year. Drivers have long been denied access to the kinds of benefits and labor protections many workers take for granted, such as paid sick leave or the minimum wage. As a result, New York City’s professional drivers have traditionally depended on gratuities for a substantial portion of their income. Cuts to driver pay across the ride-hail industry has made tipping income more important than ever,” said IDG founder Jim Conigliaro, Jr. “The exploitation of ride-hail drivers must end and this is an important first step. We thank Chairman Joshi and the commission for holding Uber to the same standard as the rest of the industry on tipping and look forward to working together on further reforms to protect our city’s working drivers. We also thank the many city leaders, labor unions and community organizations that stood with drivers and advocated for this critical measure.”

More than a dozen City Council members joined with city leaders, labor unions and community organizations in backing the Guild’s proposed rule and more than 11,000 supporters signed IDG’s tipping option petition. Guild members called the TLC more than 800 times and sent the TLC nearly 1800 emails advocating for the tipping rule. At a TLC hearing on April 6, 55 members of the Independent Drivers Guild testified and demanded action from the TLC to approve the tipping rule and protect drivers’ wages from the exploitative practices of ride-hail companies.

“Today’s victory is more proof that thousands of drivers coming together with one voice can make big changes,” said Uber driver and IDG member Jose Molina. “Tips will bring immediate relief to families like mine, but it’s not just about drivers. Allowing tipping on the app will make tipping much easier for passengers and it will give drivers more incentive to go above and beyond in providing top notch service.”

“When Uber came to town several years ago making big promises about higher earnings and more freedom, I left my job as a dispatch manager to drive for Uber. They led riders and drivers alike to believe that the fares would cover the gratuities that always made up a big part of driver pay, but that’s not what happened. In the years that followed, pay cuts stacked up and I found myself having to work longer hours away from my family to make the same money I did when I started. Allowing drivers to earn tips is an important step to help drivers increase their earning potential,” said IDG member and Uber driver Luiny Tavares.

Other Guild initiatives have led to changes in the Uber app not just for New York City but beyond, such as the destination filter or “take me home” option which the Guild asked for and Uber implemented in most major markets allowing drivers to pick up fares heading their way at the end of a shift. So other cities have been watching the tipping campaign closely, with CA advocates recently proposing a bill to require a tipping option.

The Guild’s tipping push first launched 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 which gives drivers a direct line of communication to company management.

When the company refused to budge, the Guild launched the tipping campaign including an online petition and social media advertisements as well as the distribution of flyers, bar napkins, and stickers that say “tips for service are appreciated”. The campaign has had 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).

With no movement from Uber, the Guild escalated the campaign in February by proposing the tipping option rule and launching 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 included digital advertising on social media platforms, search engines and other websites.

To be clear, this is not the final solution to enable drivers to make a living wage in New York City.The tipping campaign is one part of the Guild’s comprehensive effort to increase drivers’ earnings, reduce expenses and create protections. The Guild presented the TLC with a comprehensive set of actions that can be taken to protect ride-hail drivers and consumers.

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. The Guild also negotiated discounts for drivers on insurance and other expenses drivers face, such as legal assistance fighting unfair tickets. Ongoing, the Guild is exploring options for further benefits as well as pushing to improve restroom access for ride-hail drivers.

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.

Drivers can support the Independent Drivers Guild in our work to win a more fair for-hire vehicle industry by joining as a full member.


For any media inquiries, please contact Moira Muntz at [email protected]

Press Releases

Beyond the Black Car Fund

A statement from IDG Founder, Jim Conigliaro, Jr.:

Governor Cuomo is right that the Black Car Fund, which provides safety training and workers’ compensation for drivers injured on the job, must be part of any ridesharing legislation. Taking that a step further and establishing a broader portable benefits fund supported by company contributions would further protect workers and taxpayers.

Upstate drivers also deserve a seat at the table with Uber, like their brothers and sisters in NYC. With the Independent Drivers Guild, New York City’s nearly 50,000 Uber drivers enjoy the strongest job protection in America and are the only drivers in the world to meet with Uber management regularly to advocate for and win better workplace policies. Without representation, upstate drivers face an uncertain future. They would not benefit from the hard-fought victories won by downstate drivers or have a voice to win future changes.

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See op-ed from December for more:
https://drivingguild.org/2016/12/20/ride-share-cant-free-ride/

Press Releases

NY Uber Drivers Launch Ads in Tipping Campaign

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?”

Further background

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
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Press Releases

NY Uber Drivers Launch Tipping Campaign

The Independent Drivers Guild Calls On Uber to Offer In-App Tipping Option; Launches Passenger Awareness Campaign

New York, NY — Today, the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) is launching a new campaign to urge Uber to make tipping easier for Uber passengers by creating an in-app tipping option. The IDG is an affiliate of the Machinists Union (IAMAW – District 15) and represents more than 35,000 Uber drivers serving New York City. The labor group surveyed its membership and the lack of an in-app tipping function was the top issue of concern that drivers wished to bring to Uber management at their monthly meeting.

The IDG will also launch a campaign to raise passenger awareness about tipping Uber drivers. The Guild will make stickers available, free of cost, to all drivers to post in their vehicles to let New York City’s Uber passengers know that tips for good service are appreciated.

“Passengers and drivers alike want tipping to be as easy as possible. It’s time for Uber to offer passengers an in-app tipping option,” said Jim Conigliaro, Jr, founder of the Independent Drivers Guild.

“Many passengers are unaware that tipping Uber drivers is permitted or expected. With these stickers, we hope to clarify that tips for good service are allowed and appreciated,” said Uber driver Ronny Paulino. “Tipping makes a huge difference for drivers. When I drove for a service that allowed in-app tipping, those tips were enough to pay my family’s grocery bill for the week.”

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.”

As part of the tipping campaign, the Guild will do community outreach as well as launch a petition and social media campaign this summer to show Uber there is both passenger and driver support for an in-app tipping function.

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. Simply by flagging deactivation concerns for Uber, the IDG has helped get drivers reinstated and will help more appeal their deactivations at the first hearing scheduled for late July. 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.

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).

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Press Releases

MACHINISTS UNION, UBER ANNOUNCE LABOR AGREEMENT IN NYC

Labor agreement sets new standard for worker representation and benefits in the on-demand economy

International Association of Machinists (IAM) District 15 forms “Independent Drivers Guild” to represent all current and future drivers using Uber in New York City

Uber and IAM to jointly push for new state legislation to level the tax playing field for drivers, with money going back to drivers and the creation of a new benefits fund

NEW YORK – The International Association of Machinists (IAM) District 15 and Uber today announced an agreement through which IAM will represent all current and future for-hire vehicle drivers using Uber in New York City. Under the five-year agreement, IAM has formed an affiliate, the Independent Drivers Guild (drivingguild.org), to give the 35,000 drivers using the app a strong voice as well as new protections and benefits. This demonstrates Uber’s ongoing commitment to improving communications and building a more productive relationship with drivers.

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.

Under the terms of the agreement, drivers will participate in meetings with Uber management on a regular basis, which will give them an additional voice and the ability to discuss the issues that matter most to them. Drivers in New York City will also now have the ability to appeal certain deactivation decisions, in addition to the protections afforded them by Uber’s new national deactivation policy.

Drivers appealing a deactivation decision will have the opportunity to sit down with a panel of highly rated and experienced peers who will hear the appeal and vote whether to uphold or reverse the decision. Drivers can have Guild representation in these deactivation appeal proceedings.

Drivers will also gain access to discounted legal services, life and supplemental disability insurance, education courses and roadside assistance, along with an online worker center, providing a central hub for driver assistance and resources.

This agreement is a result of conversations and negotiations initiated by IAM in late 2015.

In addition, the Machinists Union and Uber will campaign for a level playing field—with rides on Uber, taxi and private hire being taxed at the same rate for the first time. This would not only mean more money for drivers, it would also free up resources for a new benefits fund administered by the Guild in consultation with drivers, which could include paid time off, a legal defense fund, a disability fund, retirement savings accounts or an immigration assistance fund.

Also announced today, Freelancers Union will serve as a key advisor to Uber on how to best bring portable benefits to independent workers in the on-demand economy. The 300,000-member Freelancers Union provides affordable, portable benefits to independent workers and has a long history of building complex, networked platforms and solutions to help workers pool resources and achieve healthcare stability. The Independent Drivers Guild plans to utilize this resource to explore bringing benefits to drivers using Uber in New York.

 

James Conigliaro, Jr., Independent Drivers Guild Founder said:

“For the first time, drivers using Uber are coming together to form a drivers’ guild that will give them a seat at the table with Uber management and critical new protections and benefits. Forming this Guild is crucial for thousands of drivers who need a stronger voice and gives organized labor an opportunity to shape the new economy in a way that supports and values workers and their families.”

David Plouffe, Uber Chief Advisor and Board Member said:

“Drivers are the heart and soul of Uber. This agreement with the International Association of Machinists will offer protections that are designed to match the independence and flexibility they have come to rely on. We’re committed to working with and supporting the driver community.”

Sara Horowitz, Freelancers Union Founder and Executive Director said:

“We have an opportunity today to create an innovative solution for one of the most pressing problems facing freelancers, and to bring stability and protections to independent work. The workforce is changing and it’s our job to make sure our safety net keeps pace. I commend the Machinists for taking this important step.”

James Conigliaro, Sr., General Vice President, IAM International said:

“For nearly twenty years, I have personally been involved in a campaign to better the lives of black car workers in NYC. While we’ve made significant achievements in the past, the Independent Drivers Guild is an historic leap forward. The guild is bringing together more drivers than ever before to advocate for benefits and fairness in the workplace. In negotiating the first guild for drivers using Uber, the Machinists are not only standing up for the 35,000 drivers in New York, but also blazing a trail for workers and unions across the country.”

Mario Cilento, President, New York State AFL-CIO said:

“Today’s agreement between Uber and the Machinists represents a giant step forward for workers in the sharing economy. This will not only raise industry standards, it will give for-hire drivers a voice and ensure due process. I look forward to this agreement being a catalyst for change in kickstarting the broader conversation around labor and technology.”

Vincent Alvarez, President, New York City Central Labor Council said:

“I commend the Machinists for taking this important step to ensure that for-hire drivers benefit from all the dignities, rights, and protections they deserve. Through this landmark agreement, drivers using Uber will enjoy the highest standard of support in the industry.”

Rev. Al Sharpton, President and Founder of National Action Network and National Civil Rights Leader said:

“Today’s historic agreement is a victory for the hardworking individuals who form the bedrock of the innovation economy. This agreement should set a national example for ensuring that workers’ rights are not only protected, but also that their voices are rightly heard and valued as instrumental to the success of the sharing economy.”

Muhammed Barlas, Former IAM Union Member, Current Uber Driver-Partner said:

“Being an independent driver comes with perks—like freedom and flexibility—but also real challenges. Back in 1999, I joined the Machinists union and they fought to give us the kinds of protections and benefits many workers in other industries take for granted. I was glad to have the union in my corner then and I am glad they are standing up for me and all of New York’s drivers now.”

Bassam Assaad, Uber Driver-Partner said:

“As a driver, I work really hard to provide for myself and my family. I love that Uber gives me the opportunity to be my own boss and set my own hours, and this new agreement helps me feel more secure. I thank the Machinists for giving me a voice to discuss my needs as a driver-partner and I look forward to my continuing my relationship with the company.”