Photo credit: Raul Rivera

According to the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG), more than 500 New York Uber and Lyft drivers braved frigid temperatures on December 19 to protest a State Supreme Court judge’s decision to grant Uber’s request to temporarily halt pay raises for its drivers. Displaying flags, signs, and posters, IDG drivers caravanned over the Brooklyn Bridge and into Manhattan to circle the New York Courthouses at 60 Centre Street and Foley Square, where they held a rally on the courthouse steps demanding Uber drop the suit and pay up. The pay increase was supposed to go into effect on the day of the caravan.

Photo credit: Raul Rivera

“We are not going to take this; thousands of New York drivers fought for years to win these raises!” said IDG Organizing Director Aziz Bah. “We testified, we rallied, we produced reports on our expenses. While Uber is pocketing larger and larger commissions from every fare, drivers are being squeezed with the rising cost of living, gas, and car insurance.”

Photo credit: Raul Rivera

“We’re not asking for a handout. We are demanding what we earned!” added Brooklyn-based IDG member Michele Dottin.

“Thousands of families like mine were depending on this raise to finally break even. Now I don’t know what we will do,” said Long Island-based IDG Member Arifa Tirmizi, who works hard to support her family, including her seven children.

“Uber blocking our raise right before the holidays is a slap in the face. This raise covers what we already deserve to cover our working expenses and inflation,” said IDG member Malik Anwaar. “By blocking this raise, Uber is advocating to pay drivers less than minimum wage. It’s offensive and wrong.”

Photo credit: Raul Rivera

The pay increase, which was recently passed by the TLC, along with a taxi-fare increase, aims to raise the rate of pay for drivers that work for high-volume for-hire vehicle companies like Uber and Lyft by about 7% per minute and 24% per mile, according to media outlet, The Hill.

Uber sued the city in a Manhattan Supreme Court over the raise, arguing that the “dramatic, unprecedented and unsupported” pay hikes were implemented to fight inflation but were calculated using an index the TLC never used before and “will never use again.” Uber claimed the pay increases could force it to spend tens of millions of additional dollars each month and potentially increase the cost of rides by 10% in NYC. They claim the pay hike would harm riders, drivers and the entire industry since a cost increase could mean fewer customers.

TLC Commissioner David Do told Changing America his agency will fight the lawsuit in court and the city’s Uber drivers “have every right” to fight the company’s efforts denying them their inflation and cost of living pay adjustment.

Sources: Independent Drivers Guild, The Hill

Article by Black Car News

Black Car News provides breaking news, editorial, and information to drivers, owners, and other key players in the New York City for-hire vehicle industry.

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