Timeline of FHV Drivers' Struggle for Fair Pay
Timeline of IDG’s campaign for a regulated minimum pay rate and a cap on new TLC drivers
The IDG formally raised the issue of fare regulation to the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) when the TLC proposed limiting the number of hours drivers could work. After polling drivers on the proposed 12 hour rule, the IDG argued that before limiting work hours, there must first be pay protection rules in place to ensure drivers could make a living.
Shortly after the IDG’s May launch, we sent a letter to TLC President Meera Joshi on June 23, 2016 in opposition to the proposed rule to limit driver hours without taking measures to maintain driver pay. In July 2016, the IDG also submitted the signatures of 615 drivers who signed on to the letter calling for a livable pay floor before capping driver hours. The IDG reinforced this position to the TLC when they attended an IDG meeting with drivers at IDG offices (in late 2016).
The IDG worked with the TLC to provide solutions to improve driver pay. IDG made members available for interview with the TLC to discuss their earnings, expenses and their daily struggles to make ends meet. IDG gave suggestions for survey questions the TLC should consider.
The first TLC survey on driver pay was launched.
The IDG discussed the need for livable wage rules in letter and petition to TLC on tipping
IDG drivers sent 1,500 emails on the IDG platform to TLC in April and made hundreds of calls to TLC on fair pay agenda:
IDG called for transparent mile and minute pay protected from commission and other charges at a TLC hearing attended by 60 drivers.
The TLC responded in favor of IDG’s tipping petition and also noted their agreement with the IDG’s call for livable wage rules.
The NYT Editorial Board cited IDG stats on pay.
IDG launched a pay petition and spent the next several months gathering signatures.
Summer and Fall 2017
IDG continued to collect driver data on pay and conducted research to support pay rules.
IDG released formal pay proposal with the support of 8,000 drivers signatures.
IDG member Doug Schifter took his own life in front of City Hall. While Schifter was neither the first, nor the last driver to die by suicide as a result of economic hardship, it was the first to garner widespread media attention.
After more than a year of discussion and research, the IDG launched a formal rulemaking petition to put pressure on the TLC for timely action.
IDG President Jim Conigliaro, Jr. published an op-ed in Crains pleading with the industry to stop scapegoating drivers for New York’s transportation problems.
The IDG released an explainer on why capping the number of TLC licenses is a labor-friendly alternative to the proposed cap on vehicles.
April – May 2018
300 FHV drivers staged a funeral caravan over Brooklyn Bridge on the way to City Hall to protest the punitive Diaz Bill (Intro 838-a). Driver-activists called for pay protections instead of a law that would drive them deeper into poverty.
The IDG launched digital ad campaign reinforcing their opposition of Intro 838-a and demands for pay protections.
IDG member and allies flyered City Hall and sent nearly 4,000 phone calls and emails to the TLC in opposition of the Diaz Bill and continue to demand driver pay reform.
FHV driver and IDG Steward Aziz Bah published an op-ed in the New York Daily News describing his financial struggles and the need for better pay.
The TLC responded to the IDG pay petition and stated they plan to put forward pay proposal in two months.
The New York Times and New York Daily News editorialize in favor of establishing a regulated livable wage for drivers and a cap on app fees.
IDG members and allies made more than 200 calls to City Council in 36 hours in a continued effort to demand fair pay and an end to the Diaz bill. To make an even more direct case, they held a lobby day and a flyer Day in City Council district offices to address City Council members and staff in person.
Taxi and Limousine released their proposed rules in reaction to our demands which would effectively create a 22% raise for 85% of IDG members.
After months of IDG rallies and lobby days, the city council passed and Mayor de Blasio signed legislation sponsored by Councilman Brad Lander requiring the Taxi and Limousine Commission to set minimum payments for drivers for high volume app-based for-hire vehicle services like Uber and Lyft.
The TLC held a hearing on rules to set the nation’s first pay floor for Uber and Lyft drivers after years-long driver campaign. More than 100 IDG members attend the hearing, packing the room in red shirts, to urge the TLC to raise the pay floor further, add out of town trip pay, and then quickly pass the rules. The IDG provided the TLC with a new report of vehicle expense data from more than 500 drivers to prove that expenses are significantly higher than the Commission’s original assumptions.
November 30, 2018
The TLC posts final proposed rules on FHV pay and announces the vote will be on 12/4.
- The updated rules increase the pay floor for drivers even higher based on the expense data provided by the IDG. The new policy means a raise of at least $9,600 per year for over 70,000 drivers (as opposed to the prior version which was ~$6,000 per year) and a raise of 44.7% (as opposed to the prior version which was 22.5%).
- The updated rules also add “out of town” trip pay for the first time
(to cover the time and expense of returning to the city), which was a crucial component of the IDG proposal and rulemaking petition signed by more than 16,000 drivers that drove this policymaking.
- The rules also prohibit companies from underpaying drivers on some trips as part of incentive schemes, as urged by the IDG in its October memo.