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Summary of the Latest -----> http://conta.cc/14xRsjY

Mayor Stands with Drivers to Appeal for Health & Disability Fund

Brothers and Sisters,

Keep heart. The City is standing with the drivers and will Appeal to win back our Healthcare and Disability Fund, so drivers can have the more than 20 benefits that your hard work deserves – like disability insurance if you cannot work because of injury or illness, a benefit of $300 or $350 per week up to 26 weeks.

Also: Vision, Dental, and Hearing for you and your family. Back health. 24 hour doctor’s hotline. Stress management hotline. $10,000 life insurance and a $10,000 accidental death & dismemberment policy, and more.

Support the appeal by calling NYTWA at 212-627-5248.

Until the appeal is decided, starting today, the garage/broker or private owner cannot charge you the 6 cents. Remember, don’t be confused or lose heart. United, we will win. We want our benefits. We deserve our benefits. Thousands of drivers need these benefits. Thank you for your hard work. We are proud to be your union.

Local and national media have been reporting on the need for Taxi Drivers to have these benefits.

Washington Post (4/16/14): New York court guts a groundbreaking health-care fund that would have changed taxi drivers’ lives
WNYC (4/14/14): Fund for Disabled Taxi Drivers Hits Legal Setback
NY Daily News (4/4/14): Cabbies’ $1.4M health care, disability fund remains frozen by city lawyers

See selected quotes and excerpts below!

Read more

NYTWA Responds to Supreme Court Decision

For Immediate Release: April 11th, 2014
For more information, please contact: Bhairavi Desai / nytwa1@aol.com or media@nytwa.org

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Margaret A. Chan ruled to strike down the first-ever healthcare and disability fund that would have provided benefits to tens of thousands of taxi drivers for the first time on the job.

“It’s a devastating decision basically telling tens of thousands of taxi drivers that they are expendable when sick. It’s heartless and shocking. Even if you’ve never been in the driver’s seat, you know that’s plain and simple wrong. How a Supreme Court Judge didn’t is unreal. We urge the city to appeal”, said Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director, New York Taxi Workers Alliance.

See copy of Judge Chan’s ruling

NY Daily News: Cabbies’ $1.4M Health Care, Disability Fund Remains Frozen by City Lawyers

—> NY Daily News (4/4/14): Cabbies’ $1.4M Health Care, Disability Fund Remains Frozen by City Lawyers

A long-sought health care and disability fund for yellow taxi drivers has amassed $1.4 million – but cabbies who are injured or ill still can’t get a dime from it.

In 2012, the Taxi & Limousine Commission voted to create a fund to provide financial assistance to drivers who must buy their own health insurance and lack many of the benefits that employers traditionally provide workers.

But the agency didn’t pick a program administrator until this past September, more than one year after the vote. While cabbies have been contributing to the fund since October, and former TLC Chairman David Yassky signed a contract with the administrator on Dec. 31, city lawyers have not green-lighted the arrangement.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. “Everyday, we see drivers whose lives we know would be better if the fund was up and running.”

Drivers like Mushtaq Ahmed, 57, who injured his neck and spine when he fell down a flight of stairs while off-duty in mid-March. A father of six, Ahmed has been unable to work since his tumble, and it could be several more weeks before doctors say the cabbie can get back behind the wheel.

“I have no income – nothing,” Ahmed said. “I worry about rent and food . . . everything.”

Ahmed leases a cab from another driver who owns a taxi and a yellow-cab medallion. Owner-drivers are not required by state law to provide disability coverage.

The fund, if authorized to distribute financial assistance, would provide Ahmed with $300 to $350 a week, Desai said. Ahmed also may be eligible to obtain weekly payments from a state Workers Compensation Board fund, but it would be very little, less than $200 a week, Desai said.

The TLC last year selected a nonprofit offshoot of the Taxi Workers Alliance to administer the fund.

Meera Joshi, a former TLC lawyer who is on track to become the city’s next taxi chief, said the city Law Department has concerns related to pending lawsuits that challenge the agency’s authority to establish a benefits fund, and the agency’s choice for administrator. Since October, cabbies have had to contribute 6 cents per fare to the fund.

Joshi, who helped craft the contract while she was the TLC’s top lawyer, said the de Blasio administration is committed to getting the benefits program functioning. She could not, however, estimate how much longer drivers would have to wait.

“The law department has to feel comfortable with moving to the next step,” Joshi said Thursday during a confirmation hearing before the City Council’s committee on rules, privileges and elections.

Joshi is the vice president of campus safety at NYU. She spent three years at the TLC as deputy commissioner of legal affairs and general counsel. She previously held high-level posts at the city Civilian Complaint Review Board and Department of Investigation.

(Click here to read the article online)

Taxi Workers Welcome Mayor de Blasio’s Nomination of Meera Joshi

For Immediate Release: March 8th, 2014
For more information, please contact: Bhairavi Desai / nytwa1@aol.com or media@nytwa.org

“The 17,000-member strong New York Taxi Workers Alliance welcomes Mayor Bill de Blasio’s nomination of Meera Joshi as TLC Chairperson – the first woman of color and first South Asian. For decades, compassion and consideration for the hard-working taxi drivers who labor 12-hour shifts has been the last priority. Our taxis may be iconic, but the drivers whose blood, sweat and tears give it the visibility have remained hidden and often demonized. Given taxi drivers are independent contractors and do not have protection under any state or federal labor laws, the TLC is crucial to our daily bread. The TLC sets the tone in how drivers are treated from the garage to the streets. We are heartened to see Mayor de Blasio nominate a fair, just and full of integrity TLC Chairperson who will continue the work to bring dignity to the working conditions in this industry and give recognition to our labor as the other half of the city’s mass transit system. Taxis alone serve half a million passengers every day. We look forward to working with Chairwoman Joshi on bringing benefits to drivers, stopping assaults and other violence on drivers, stopping high and predatory leases so drivers can earn a livable income, reducing fines which leave drivers destitute, and bringing fair enforcement and just industry courts with real due process.”  - Statement by Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director, New York Taxi Workers Alliance

NY Daily News (3/8/14): Mayor de Blasio to nominate former lawyer to run Taxi & Limousine Commission


THE CITY OF NEW YORK
OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
NEW YORK, NY 10007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 8, 2014
CONTACT: pressoffice@cityhall.nyc.gov, (212) 788-2958
No. 079

MAYOR DE BLASIO NOMINATES TAXI AND LIMOUSINE COMMISSION
CHAIRWOMAN AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

NEW YORK — Today Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his nomination of Meera Joshi to serve as Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC).

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Taxi Workers Respond to Mayor de Blasio’s Traffic Safety Plan

For Immediate Release: February 18th, 2014
For more information, please contact: Bhairavi Desai / nytwa1@aol.com or media@nytwa.org

Taxi drivers depend on traffic safety like every New Yorker. 30,000 taxi drivers average 60-70 hrs per week behind the wheel. Statistics show that taxi drivers are the safest motorists on NYC streets. Despite these numbers, given the high visibility of taxis, we’ve also been at the center of the debate regarding enforcement. We want to be part of the progress, not be the scape-goats for a serious issue in our City, especially when we have solutions to offer.

The solutions lie with making changes to traffic patterns and street design so that motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists are not all competing on increasingly narrow and congested space; better lighting, especially at crosswalks; more split signals directing turns; more traffic control agents; and public speed signs.

Reports have circulated about the TLC considering lowering the fare or shutting off the meter if the technology says the car is speeding.

To shut off the meter in the middle of a fare is not only insane Big Brother, it’s severe, cruel, and simply unhelpful. Technology that can truly be helpful should be considered, but this would just be overboard. Drivers already have no guaranteed income, only expenses on the lease, fuel and vehicle repairs. Every statistic shows taxi drivers are the safest drivers in New York City. We don’t deserve to be singled out and punished to do even better.

NY Post (2/18/14): De Blasio wants to shut down meters to slow speeding cabs
NY Magazine (2/18/14): Tattling taxis, black boxes, and other tech fixes in de Blasio’s traffic-safety plan
NYC.gov – Vision Zero Plan

VICTORY! AG & TLC Settlement: Large Fleet Owner to Pay $750,000 in Restitution to Drivers for Overcharges!

Thanks to Our Awesome Members Who Came Forward With Lease Overcharge Complaints….The Attorney General’s Office and TLC Reached a Settlement with fleet owner Gene Friedman (Downtown/28th Street Management/Tunnel/Woodside) to Pay $750,000 in Restitution to Drivers & $500,000 in Fines!
Call NYTWA 212-627-5248 if you worked at a Friedman garage and are now owed back your hard-earned income!
Below is today’s press release from Attorney General Schneiderman:

News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 19, 2013
New York City Press Office / 212.416.8060

Albany Press Office / 518.473.5525
nyag.pressoffice@ag.ny.gov
Twitter:@AGSchneiderman

New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission
Allan Fromberg / 212.676.1013
frombera@tlc.nyc.gov

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN AND TLC SECURE FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND AGREEMENT PROTECTING RIGHTS OF TAXICAB DRIVERS

Drivers To Receive Nearly $750,000 In Restitution For
Overcharges By Taxicab Companies

Formal Collaboration By Attorney General And New York City Taxi And Limousine Commission (TLC) Will Protect Taxicab Drivers’ Earnings

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) Commissioner David Yassky today announced an agreement with Evgeny “Gene” Freidman, and four taxicab companies owned in part by Freidman, to pay $746,406 in restitution to drivers who were charged rates higher than the legally permissible amounts to lease cabs and medallions, as well as $500,000 in fines. With control through his companies of more than 880 medallions, Freidman oversees one of the five largest fleets in New York City.

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Taxi Fleets Fail to Provide Disability Insurance for Drivers Who Are Sick or Injured Off-the-Job

Our struggle exposed the fleets, TLC and Workers Compensation Board failures. We will fight to make fleets comply with the law for state minimum coverage of $170 per week.  The Benefits Fund will give additional coverage of $300 or $350 per week up to 26 weeks.

NY Daily News (11/25/13): Many Taxi Fleets Don’t Provide Drivers with Disability Insurance, as New York Law Requires

“I’m supposed to be retiring but I can’t stop working. Every time I think about it, I get so emotional. All the years I put into this industry and no one helped me.” – Beresford Simmons

” … The Workers’ Compensation Board’s interpretation of state law could have been made — and enforced — a long time ago.”

“The fleets betrayed us, and the Taxi and Limousine Commission and the Workers Compensation Board failed us,” said Bhairavi Desai, NYTWA

Taxi Drivers Benefits Fund!

After a 17-year non-stop struggle, NYTWA has won

First-Ever Taxi Driver Benefits!

NYTWA is negotiating a final contract with the TLC as part of a public competitive process where we were the selected contract holder to administer benefits paid for from the six cents collection. More details to come as the contract is finalized.

For the first time, you won’t have to worry if you are injured or get sick. You will still have income. For the first time, drivers will have benefits on the job.

Over 20 Benefits for ALL Drivers!

First-Ever Disability Insurance up to $340/week for up to 26 weeks – This replaces loss of income while you are not able to work due to illness or off-the-job injury
• Help families apply for affordable health insurance and financial assistance under Obamacare
• Vision Plan for family
• Dental Plan for family
• Hearing Plan for family
• Stress Management & Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for family (Depression, Alcoholism)
• Back Health Services
• Term Life Insurance
• Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance

Dedicated Staff & Call Center
& MORE!!!

Not-for-profit Fund where the six cents collection will go directly & exclusively for DRIVERS BENEFITS.

The Benefits Fund will give all drivers supplemental (extra) health benefits such as dental and vision & Disability Insurance and help your family apply for medical insurance under Obamacare!

THIS IS THE POWER OF OUR UNITY.  This is the Commitment of the Union.  The Six Cents Will Finance the Benefits Fund. The Fund will be for ALL Drivers!
Your Membership Dues Finance the Union That Makes Victories Possible.  Join Today!  

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Is Your Garage or Broker Forcing You to Pay for Accident Repairs?

 

Report All Overcharges!

The latest garage/broker scam is to force drivers to pay for accident repairs.  If you have been overcharged, call NYTWA immediately.  There are many ways to defend your rights.  If we stay silent, the violations will spread.

  • Is the garage/broker still charging you 5%?
  • Are they charging you a “late” or “shift excess fee”?
  • Did the garage/broker make you pay for car repairs?
  • Are you owed money on an insurance claim after an accident?
  • Are they charging you more than the lease cap?

Stand Up and Stop the Robbery!
Call NYTWA @ 212-627-5248

All lease cap numbers INCLUDE the credit card processing!
The NYS sales tax ($4.77) is extra.

See TLC Industry Notice Download Flyer

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Big Wins for Taxi Workers

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA) had several big wins on the week of July 12th, 2012. The Alliance successfully mobilized city officials and the Taxi and Limousine Commission for a 17% increase in taxi fares, the first change since 2006. The Alliance was also successful in getting the TLC to create a new six-cent surcharge on every taxi ride, which will fund a new account to provide health care to the largely uninsured community of cabbies. Sealing those two victories with a hat trick, the Alliance got the TLC to eliminate a 5% charge that fleets had been permitted to deduct from each driver’s credit-card sales at the end of each shift. The charge, intended to defray back-office costs of credit-card processing after card machines were made mandatory in 2008, had become a large source of tension with drivers after credit-card payments soared. As if that weren’t enough, the Alliance capped off an already stellar week by securing new rules that stop lease overcharges by taxi fleets, and successfully imposing new regulations onto a segment of the taxi industry that’s been unregulated for the past 30 years.  (NYC Central Labor Council)

  Fare Raise 2012 Campaign Article Collection (PDF, Set 1)

Jump to Sections:

Raise the Fare & Freeze the Leases

Stop Garage & Broker Overcharges

Health & Wellness

Lower Credit Card Surcharge