September Newsletter – Exciting updates on driver benefits and events
IDG Chicago Drivers Welcome New Lyft Women+ Connect Program
For years women drivers and riders have called for a rideshare option that pairs women drivers with women riders — and now in select cities, including Chicago, Lyft is piloting just such a program. This month Lyft launched Lyft Women+ Connect as an option in the app for women and nonbinary riders and drivers to request to be matched with each other.
IDG members in Chicago are thrilled that Lyft selected the city for the pilot program and are excited to see how the pilot plays out. IDG driver and organizer Teddi Burgess told CBS News that she will probably drive with Lyft more with this new program and that as a woman driver in the city of Chicago she feels safer when she sees her passenger is a woman. “Anytime I look at my app and I see that I’m picking up a female, you know, there’s a little bit of a sigh of relief that goes through my mind,” she said. IDG Chicago member Lisa Rice also liked the option, telling the Chicago Tribune, “Most female (passengers) are so happy when they have a female driver, because there’s not a lot of us.”
It’s the Start of Flu Season. The Independent Drivers Guild Has You Covered with Free Flu Shots!
We can never predict just how bad a flu season will be. But according to the CDC, hundreds of thousands of people ended in the hospital last flu season. None of us wants to lose a week of work due to illness, which is why we need to act now to protect ourselves.
The Independent Drivers Guild is giving every member a free flu shot voucher, valid through February 28, 2024 and redeemable at every Walgreens and Duane Reade location.
All IDG members of New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Florida, and Drivers Benefits members in New York, will automatically get a free flu shot voucher sent to their email, which can be redeemed at any participating Walgreens or Duane Reade. The voucher will cover the cost of the standard flu shot, and the flu shot formulated for individuals 65+, whether or not you have insurance.
If you are not a member of the IDG, click the link above to activate your IDG membership and your free flu shot voucher will be emailed to you in just one (1) business day.
If you have questions, please call us at 866-471-3603.
MA Drivers Are In the Fight for A Driver Union! Workers Speak to Legislators about the Rideshare Driver Justice Bill
Thank you to the many drivers, legislators, and staffers who joined the Legislative Briefing this month for the passage of the Massachusetts Rideshare Driver Justice Bill. Drivers Betania Gonell and Cletus Awah spoke to a packed room about the crisis drivers are facing as ride commissions plummet while the price of gas, maintenance, and rent continue to skyrocket. We need Uber and Lyft to finally start respecting drivers. Together, we will pass this legislation and win the industry protections and union rights we deserve in Massachusetts! United, WE WIN!
Driver Spotlight: Meet Illinois IDG Member Brivonn Spencer
Brivonn Spencer has been working for Uber and Lyft for 8 years. “I used to work at a call center. So I wasn’t making enough at my typical 9 to 5. But it just seems that over time, Uber and Lyft got kind of greedy. They started cutting out a lot of stuff, making us work out later. You used to be able to work 4 to 6 hours and make $150 to $200 a day.”
“And then safety became a pretty big issue. I still do rideshare but not so much as I did at first. I do DoorDash and I also do Uber Eats. I’m a single mother. So, I want to be able to go home to my child at the end of the day. I don’t want to drive around out of fear that someone is following me or I could pick up a passenger that could rob me. When the pandemic hit, the carjackings started happening, I really started becoming more concerned and afraid. I don’t have to have anyone in the car with me when I deliver. I can pick where I can work. Sometimes I can just do it out of my own neighborhood.”
Like many drivers, Brivonn is on the road to support her family. “My daughter is 11. I try to spend as much time with her when I’m not working. So security is a top priority for me. We also need better wages. Back when it first came out, we had our surges and bonuses. You could actually make a living off of it. You can’t do that anymore. You literally have to work so many hours, work multiple platforms, or get a 9-5. We really need decent wages and decent benefits without messing with flexibility.”
On the new Lyft Women+ Connect Program, Brivonn said she is excited about the new feature. “I’m grateful that I have not been harassed or stalked, but there are women out there that have. To get the option to choose a female passenger for their safety and security is an awesome idea. And not just for cisgender women but for trans women as well. I have a cousin who is a transgender woman and sometimes she is worried for her own safety. So for her to know she has an option that can protect her is a great thing.”
We are glad that the support of the Independent Drivers Guild has been so meaningful to Brivonn over the past 8 years. “They’re like my family. I love them. I’ve known them for many years. Some of us used to hang out together during our early rideshare days. We all say the changes that were going on and how it was affecting our income, our families, our safety, so it’s great that we all stuck together and found a way to advocate for ourselves. I’m very grateful to have their support and support them. They’re literally like my brothers and sisters. They’re my family. They have definitely been there for me on an emotional basis as a driver and mother. And now, I try to support them with whatever events they do. I was recently there at Chicago Gigfest. We passed out school supplies!” That’s exactly what being an Independent Drivers Guild member is all about. We’re here to support drivers. Thank you Brivonn for sharing your story. We are proud to work with you to continue improving the rideshare and delivery industries.
Thank You for Joining Our Celebrations in New Jersey and Connecticut
A big shoutout to all the amazing drivers who joined us at our Driver Appreciation Day events in New Jersey and Connecticut! Your presence brought so much energy and excitement to the party, and it was genuinely heartwarming to see everyone come together to celebrate. Your dedication and hard work are the bedrock of our community’s success, and these events were a small way for us to say thanks. We hope you and your loved ones had a blast, and we can’t thank you enough for being such a vital part of our community.
A Union and Justice for All: This Labor Day, We Thanked All the IDG Drivers for Fighting with Us for A Brighter Future
As we celebrate Labor Day this year, we reflect on the remarkable legacy of the Machinists’ Independent Drivers Guild members and your relentless pursuit of fair wages, comprehensive benefits, and the right to unionize for drivers across the industry. Through your unwavering commitment, we are paving the way for a brighter future for all drivers. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to all our driver members who are carrying on this crucial fight. Your dedication and resilience in advocating for a better tomorrow in our industry are truly commendable. Together, we continue to push for positive change and stand in solidarity as we work towards a more equitable and prosperous future for all drivers.
New York Office Hours & Weekly Outreach
IDG’s NYC office is bigger and better than ever! Visit us:
New York Independent Drivers Guild
41-09 36th St #3
Queens, NY 11101
Monday – Friday, 10AM – 4PM
Until further notice, IDG weekly outreach will now be on Wednesdays at LaGuardia Airport only.
23rd Avenue and 90th Street, Queens, NY 11371
Wednesdays from 1PM – 5PM
New Jersey Office Hours
New Jersey Independent Drivers Guild
110 Fieldcrest Avenue, 3rd Floor
Edison, New Jersey 08837
Thursdays from 10AM to 2PM
Connecticut Office Hours
Connecticut Independent Drivers Guild
157 Church St
New Haven, CT 06510
Wednesdays from 10AM to 6PM
Illinois Office Hours
IL Drivers! Have you visited our office yet? Come in and get support!
Illinois Independent Drivers Guild
114 W Higgins Rd
Park Ridge, IL 60068
Monday – Thursday from 10AM to 4PM
Friday from 10 AM to 2PM
Saturday from 10AM to 2PM
Massachusetts Office Hours
1047 Commonwealth Ave
Tuesdays from 11AM – 3PM
Boston Logan Airport
Tuesdays from 3:30PM – 5:30PM
Boston Logan Airport
Every other Wednesday from 11:30AM – 1:30PM
Not in CT, IL, MA, NJ, FL or NY? Contact us here to speak with organizers about next steps. Reach out today – let’s organize in your state!
You can now read previous editions of the IDG Member Newsletter here!