2016 Year in Review: What did we win?

01 Jan 2017

At the start of 2016, New York City’s For-Hire Vehicle drivers were desperate. Like Uber drivers across the country and around the world, they have been facing dwindling income and had no voice to seek changes and win fair workplace policies. Thanks to thousands of you joining together, New York’s Uber drivers made big strides in 2016.

While there are still challenges ahead, if we continue to band together we can make 2017 the best year yet. But first, let’s take a moment to reflect on all you accomplished in 2016.

2016 Wins

The IDG won NYC working drivers the right to Works Council meetings. As a result, we are the only drivers in the world to meet with Uber management regularly to advocate for changes.

The best job protection of any Uber drivers in the world with our unique appeals process to fight unfair deactivations, overseen by the unbiased American Arbitration Association, a peer panel, and expert representation from the Guild/Machinists Union. About two dozen drivers are now back on the road after being unfairly deactivated. You may find the deactivation appeal application here: http://driversguild.org/uberdeactivated/

In one of the first Works Council meetings, IDG members overwhelmingly called for a “take me home” option where drivers could choose their destination. A few months later, Uber responded by implementing the destination filter.

New leadership of Uber’s driver customer service—and the promise to completely upgrade the customer service system. Uber has been testing live phone service with about 1,000 drivers, hopefully to expand it to all drivers soon.

Starting January 4th, all luxury drivers will be able to opt out of UberPOOL and UberX rides. So all UberBLACK/SUV drivers will have the “+” option, no matter when you started with the service.

A $1 raise to the minimum rate (not as much as we’d like, but it’s something) and an important statement from the General Manager of Uber NY at our November meeting: “Don’t expect to see anymore price cuts”.

Successfully pressured Uber to crackdown on illegal practices that put legitimate, law-abiding drivers at a disadvantage like illegal airport pick ups and making it harder to spoof your location.

Worked with the TLC to get real, unbiased data on expenses and earnings for For-Hire Vehicle drivers.

Worked with the TLC to get any rule on fatigue to protect drivers that need to pay their bills if they’re driving safely.

Provided discount legal services for NYPD tickets and TLC summons.

Helped several drivers win workers compensation payouts from the Black Car Fund and win back pay from Uber in cases of earnings theft.

Created driver led committees, online communities and a Women Drivers’ Caucus-to build community and discuss the changes that need to happen on the road.

In 2017, we will take on new fights and continue our ongoing work, including:

Our campaign to pressure Uber to add an in-app tipping option (taxis and other ride sharing companies have it, Uber drivers need this important source of income).

Advocating for a bathroom at JFK airport and more restrooms throughout the city

Urging the city and state to pass driver protections, from the city bill to win health insurance for drivers to correcting the unfair state sales tax on black car rides (while taxi and livery are exempt).

Finally, we will also always stand in solidarity with our Muslim and immigrant brothers and sisters. More than 90% of our membership is an immigrant. We don’t know what policies will come from the white house in the next four years, but we will do everything within our power to ensure you and your families are safe.

On behalf of New York’s 45,000 drivers, thank you for all of your hard work this year to win a better life for drivers. You should be proud of all you have accomplished in these past six months. Join the Guild as a Full Member and continue to bring your energy and ideas so we can achieve even more in 2017.