In July, three Uber drivers were determined to be employees eligible for unemployment insurance through the New York State Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.

All workers deserve the social safety net of being able to provide for their families when not able to work. We expect it will continue to take years to get any final ruling on the classification of all of our members, and in the meantime drivers are struggling to survive. But on August 8, the City Council could vote on new rules that will radically change the industry.

We are still analyzing the five bills (as of July 27), but we are confident Brad Lander’s bill for a fair pay floor will be included.

We have been fighting for a fair pay floor for two years and are excited that City Council and the TLC are starting to take action. The TLC’s proposed rules will increase workers per mile and minute pay (they propose 22.5% increase after expenses) and ensures that if Uber and Lyft hire too many workers, each worker must be paid more per trip – making over-saturation unprofitable for the companies, while limiting the number of drivers with the number of trips… something we proposed about a year ago.

In addition, more than 42,000 for-hire vehicle drivers now have access to landmark new telemed and vision benefits. While this may seem like a small win, expanding and creating benefits funds is the future, and this win gives us the footing we need to expand benefits funds to provide things like disability insurance, paid time off and health benefits.

Drivers have to keep coming together to get elected officials to expand these new benefits and our existing workers’ compensation fund. Whether courts rule our members as Independent Contractors or Employees, the IDG (or the Machinists Union) will always be bringing app-based drivers together for fair pay and dignity on the job.

It is our duty to connect drivers and their families with resources to improve their well-being.

In July, we partnered with non-profits, unions and universities to offer a variety of free services accessible to you at the July IDG Opportunity Fair. The fair included, among other things:

  • Free college courses and programs
  • IDG Benefits offering free telemedicine insurance & free optical care for full time drivers
  • Sloan Kettering Hospital to offer free health care screenings
  • ESL program providers
  • Job training professionals that will train in IT, CDL licensing, Customer Service and more!
  • Immigration representatives and lawyers
  • IDG Legal Help line, IDG Education Center and IDG Union Leadership Program!

Sign up to get up-to-the-minute updates at drivingguild.organd follow us on Facebook to be sure you hear about our next fair and other critical updates!

Article by Ryan Price

Ryan Price is Executive Director of the Independent Drivers Guild, an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists, which represents and advocates for more than 60,000 app-based drivers in New York City. We’re Uber, Lyft, Juno, Via workers united for a fair industry.

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