NYC Report Explores First of Their Kind Pay Rules for Uber / Lyft Drivers

02 Jul 2018

Proposal Follows A More than a Year Long Worker Campaign and Would Establish First Minimum Pay Rules for App-Based Drivers Who Lack Protection of a Minimum Wage

New York, NY — After more than a year long campaign by thousands of app-based drivers with the Independent Drivers Guild, New York City today is releasing a new report analyzing a proposal to establish a minimum pay rate for drivers. Below is a statement from the Guild:

“The new study confirms what we’ve been saying for some time – that drivers are in fact struggling and it’s time to act. New York must require exploitative companies like Uber and Lyft to pay a livable wage. The city must lead the way for a more fair industry on behalf of the more than 65,000 app-based drivers in our city as well as to set a precedent for those struggling all across the U.S.

We are continuing to analyze the potential proposal, but without a doubt establishing minimum pay rules that raise driver pay is the single most important step the city can take to help these struggling working families and we thank the city for listening to drivers and pursuing it. Most of all, we are proud and thankful for all the drivers who came together to fight for this critical action over the course of a more than year long campaign”

– Jim Conigliaro, Jr., Founder of the Independent Drivers Guild, a Machinists Union affiliate which represents and advocates for more than 65,000 app-based drivers in New York City

Timeline of IDG’s Campaign for Livable Pay Rules for App-Based Drivers

Thousands of drivers who make up the Independent Drivers Guild have spent more than a year campaigning for livable wage rules in New York City. From the Guild’s first letter to the City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission on the subject in June of 2016 to gathering more than 16,000 for-hire vehicle driver signatures on the Guild’s petition in 2017 and 2018. The city responded in May to IDG’s formal rulemaking petition stating it plans to put forward rules this summer. Here is a timeline of the Guild’s campaign.

June – July 2016

The IDG formally raised the issue of fare regulation to the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) in June 2016 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).

Fall 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.

December 2016

The first TLC survey on driver pay was launched.

February 2017

The IDG discussed the need for livable wage rules in letter and petition to TLC on tipping

April 2017

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 a transparent mile and minute pay protected from commission and other charges at a TLC hearing attended by 60 drivers.

The IDG released its pay survey data and demands (Press release).

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 sited IDG stats on pay.

May 2017

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.

November 2017

IDG released formal pay proposal, a 19 page report, with the support of 8,000 drivers signatures.

February 2018

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.

March 2018

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 rallied outside city hall, including staging a rush hour funeral caravan over the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall to call for fair pay and 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.

IDG announces support of labor and community leaders for livable wage rules for app-based drivers.

May 2018

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.

June 2018

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.

See the timeline here

The Independent Drivers Guild is an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and represents and advocates for more than 65,000 app-based drivers in New York City. We are Uber, Lyft, Juno, and Via drivers united for a fair for-hire vehicle industry.

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