NY Uber Drivers Launch Tipping Campaign

11 Jul 2016

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).