The Independent Drivers Guild is a driver-led and driver-powered advocacy group fighting for the rights of drivers across the country. Our primary mission is to unite drivers in the fight for the right to collective bargaining, which is the only way to stop driver exploitation by giving drivers the power to negotiate equitable work conditions for themselves. We are Uber, Lyft, and Via workers united for a fair industry.
Founded in 2016, we are the leading driver organization in the nation. We represent 80,000 for-hire drivers in New York City and advocate for over 250,000 drivers across NY, NJ, CT, MA, and IL. We have accomplished more for drivers than any other organization through direct actions and advocacy.
From fair wages to affordable benefits to deactivation recourse, we have been leading and winning fights for drivers thanks to our engaged community of members and activists. We believe that all workers deserve a fair and equitable workplace and we are committed to ensuring that independent drivers receive the support and benefits they deserve.
When Uber entered the market, they believed that drivers did not deserve to be tipped and refused to even make tipping an option in the app. IDG fought to make it not only optional but mandatory for every rideshare company operating in New York City to offer a tipping option.
Prior to our advocacy work, drivers were drastically underpaid and their wages fluctuated in accordance with app companies’ cuts. We waged an advocacy campaign for fair pay on behalf of drivers and secured a minimum wage for drivers, the first in the world to do so. Now, drivers can rely on a steady income, knowing that it won’t be subject to random cuts from executives.
In order to win better pay and improve working conditions for drivers, we need to take on billion-dollar rideshare companies who will always prioritize their own bottom line. It’s a huge challenge and one that we can only win by working together. Thanks to your support, drivers now have a seat at the table to advocate for better working conditions.
Before the IDG, drivers had no recourse if they were kicked off the apps. There was no way for them to communicate with management or appeal their deactivation. There was no due process. Now, thanks to our advocacy work, New York City Uber and Lyft drivers have the strongest appeal process in the country.
For many Americans, benefits like paid time off, health insurance and retirement plans are taken for granted. But in some industries, such as the black car industry and the “gig economy,” workers are denied such benefits.
For twenty years, the Machinists Union (IAMAW District 15) has been a leading advocate for drivers in New York City, and to date is the only worker center to win representation with black car drivers. Drivers in the black car industry have long been deemed independent contractors and typically denied employee benefits and protections like health insurance, workers’ compensation, and retirement benefits. So drivers united with the Machinists to organize Elite Limousine in the late 1990s. This campaign led to a landmark decision that granted Elite’s “independent drivers” the right to organize and form a guild for the purpose of collective bargaining. As a result, the guild achieved the industry’s first pension and health benefits offered to black car drivers.
The Machinists also led the charge to create the New York Black Car Workers’ Compensation Fund that was created to assist drivers during their time of need, even though they’re legally classified as independent contractors. The Fund compensates injured drivers while they are hurt and unable to work. In addition, the Fund offers Defensive Driving and Health and Wellness courses that pay drivers up to $300 to attend. More information here.
For over two years, drivers urged the Machinists Union to represent them to increase their earnings, benefits, and protections. In late 2015, the Machinists Union entered negotiations with Uber and announced the formation of the IDG in May 2016.
Because of the changing industry spearheaded by Uber, many drivers who were previously represented by the IAMAW are now app-based black car drivers. Those drivers were left with no seat at the table, no voice in the workplace, and no basic protections.
The Guild brings immediate protection, discounts on key benefits and much needed support to drivers — as well as a platform to further improve working conditions, earnings and benefits. The International Association of Machinists Aerospace Workers are the people moving North America.