New Tax on Our Labor

For the past few months, Uber has been pushing alongside the MTA to implement a new tax on the labor of 100,000 immigrant workers. We have been at the table demanding the following:

  • No new tax without a guarantee that companies cannot take the sum of the tax from our cut of the fare.
  • No new tax without a social safety net for drivers. If New York is increasing costs to our passengers, a portion, if not all, of the profits should go back to the workers to help us provide for our families.
  • No new tax without parity across the industry between taxis, black car, and livery.

The final deal was decided late last week. Elected officials agreed on a deal that implements the following to fund the MTA:

  • A $2.75 tax on for-hire trips beginning or ending under 96th Street in Manhattan, excluding taxi trips.
  • A 75¢ tax on Via, UberPOOL, and Lyft Line pickups in the same area.
  • A $2.50 tax on taxi trips beginning or ending in the same area.

Instead of a tax on all vehicles, for-hire vehicles have been singled out to carry the burden for the whole city, while commercial trucks and private cars get off scot-free. It’s clear that for-hire vehicles are seen as the low hanging fruit and there is little doubt that is because monied special interests take precedent and most FHV drivers are immigrants who can’t vote.

Still, we did successfully beat back previous proposals that would have been worse, including a $1 tax on all rides in New York City in addition to the new Manhattan tax for app-based trips, and no tax on any other vehicles.

While we did not win the social safety net for drivers in the budget bill, we believe that we have the support to win in the regular State legislative session. State elected officials could not deliver on the guarantee to stop companies from taking the sum of the tax from our cut of the fare, however all eyes are on our demand that the Taxi and Limousine Commission regulate pay. If the TLC approves our rule, our pay will be protected from this and other taxes. The city’s decision will be announced by May 21st.

With the support of 15,000 petition signers that are struggling to provide for their families, the backing of state and city elected officials, and the support of our partner community organizations, we know that we will win a fair industry.

This new tax will be devastating to some of our members. But by coming together and compelling the TLC and other elected officials to move forward on our other proposals we will no longer have to face the dilemma of having to choose between spending time with our families and being able to provide for them.

The IDG is a Machinists Union affiliate organizing app-based drivers. We are Uber, Lyft, Via, Juno workers united for a fair for-hire vehicle industry.