Support for us is Growing! Join the Protest Line and Build Up for the Demonstration Against Congestion Pricing on December 19th!

Our Campaign is Gaining Support! First we heard it from the TLC when they refused to vote on Congestion Pricing. Now we are seeing it in our daily protest line! Since Monday we have been making noise in front of the Governor’s midtown office to send a message to Albany, “No Congestion Pricing on Drivers’ Backs!” The public has stopped by to say they stand with the drivers and will make calls to the Governor’s office and their NYS Senator and Assembly Member! The streets are alive with honks of support! Build up the momentum for our Demonstration on Wednesday, December 19th at 1:30pm as we call on Albany to exempt yellow and green cabs from the Congestion Pricing fee! We Can Win This!

DEMONSTRATION OUTSIDE THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE
NO CONGESTION PRICING ON DRIVERS’ BACKS!
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 19th
1:30pm
Address: 633 Third Avenue

Keep Up the Pressure! Join the protest line to keep up the pressure! Stop by anytime, Monday through Friday, from 12noon to 4pm! We have to be seen to be heard!

Protest Line Outside the Governor’s Office
633 Third Avenue
Monday through Friday
Any Time From: 12noon to 4pm

We scored our first-step victory when the TLC raised the rates for App drivers last week and publicly said they support our goal of higher fares with 80% to App drivers! Now, to win a real Raise for All we have to stop Congestion Pricing from being put on yellow and green drivers’ backs!

   Two of our members doing their shift change in front of the Governor’s office!

Two of our members doing their shift change in front of the Governor’s office!

   Members have also stopped by so they can distribute flyers to friends and spread the word about the Protest Line + Our Demonstration on Wednesday, December 19th Outside the Governor’s Office!

Members have also stopped by so they can distribute flyers to friends and spread the word about the Protest Line + Our Demonstration on Wednesday, December 19th Outside the Governor’s Office!

Join the Protest Line Outside the Governor's Office and Make Some Noise!!!

Protest Line Outside the Governor’s Office
No Congestion Pricing on Drivers’ Backs!
Every Monday thru Friday starting Dec. 10th
12pm to 4pm
Address: 633 Third Avenue
Stop by anytime to stand with us and say: Exempt Yellow and Green Cabs from $2.50 Congestion Pricing Fee!

Hit the Streets! Starting today, Monday December 10th, join our Protest Line outside the Governor’s Office as we build up for our big Demonstration on December 19th at 1:30pm!

We need to protest to win an Exemption for Yellow and Green Cabs from the $2.50 Congestion Pricing fee that will be on every taxi trip that passes through 96th Street and below: pick-up, drop-off, or even going through the zone to get to another destination. For example: If you are going from Brooklyn to the Bronx and pass through the FDR, there will be an extra $2.50 fee! Green cabs will pay $2.75.

This will be DEVASTATING. 90%+ of yellow cab trips will be affected. And struggling yellow and green drivers will be locked out of a raise for years!

MAKE SOME NOISE! Call on the Governor to hold an emergency session with the State Senators and Assembly Members to exempt yellow and green cabs, just like the state exempted liveries in 2009 from the 50cents MTA tax.

TELL THE GOVERNOR TO STAND WITH THE DRIVERS! Join the protest line anytime every Monday thru Friday from 12pm to 4pm! Call the Governor’s Office at 212-681-4580 and urge an exemption for yellow and green cabs! And build up our Demonstration Outside the Governor’s Office on December 19th!!

Demonstration Outside the Governor’s Office
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 19th
1:30pm
633 Third Avenue

Since 2009, yellow and green cab drivers have contributed $1 BILLION for the MTA! Yellows and greens already give 50c for every trip and pay a vehicle lease sales tax that goes toward the MTA. Uber, Lyft, and other Apps, meanwhile, will get a break of 75cents for group rides, even if the car has only one passenger.

This Congestion Pricing Plan will not reduce congestion, or raise much money as the industry goes bankrupt. This plan is just a road map to make it easier for Wall Street's Uber and Lyft to monopolize as they go for their Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 2019.

AT THIS TIME OF CRISIS: Call for yellows and greens to be exempt!  Driver Unity won the Vehicle Cap and won the first-time regulations to give App drivers a raise.  Stay united.  Together, we can win this fight for yellow and green driver brothers and sisters who will be devastated by this surcharge.  Once we win this fight, then we can be in line for a raise for all drivers with one minimum meter rate with higher fares (Initial $3.30; $3/mile; 60c/minute slow traffic) and 80% to drivers - no matter what car you drive! 

We are already winning support at the TLC! At the Dec 4th TLC hearing, Chairperson Joshi said NYS should pause Congestion Pricing until there is a plan to also charge private cars. Other Commissioners added that there should be emergency action to stop it!  The Governor's Department of Taxation and Finance can also speak the truth that they do not have a way to implement this surcharge. As regulators, they can call for a delay, while the Governor calls Albany back to order to vote on an exemption.

We Can Win This!
Join the Protest Line and Build Up for Our
Demonstration On December 19th!

VICTORY for Uber/Lyft, ALL App Drivers! TLC Passes Minimum Rates By Which Companies Must Pay App Drivers!

The TLC passed these minimum rates that companies must pay App drivers for each trip! This means that Uber/Lyft & co. can’t cut the rates!

NEW App Rates.PNG

NO MORE UBER AND LYFT CUTTING RATES! Since our protests in February 2016 when Uber cut rates, we have been fighting for these rules! With these new rules, Uber and Lyft can no longer cut the rates on drivers' backs. Uber, Lyft drivers will gross 11% more per trip on average and the rates will be doubled on out of town trips (which is straight from NYTWA's proposal)!

The rules passed, and Commissioner Marino called for higher rates with 80% to drivers, supporting our Raise for All Drivers Demands! Chairwoman Meera Joshi responded that she believes TLC rules will eventually get there! So we have a first giant step and the stage set for our ultimate victory!

For yellow and green cab drivers, the TLC showed support by refusing to vote on Congestion Pricing! They also voted to lower the credit card fees and increase WAV payments! Our Unity Brings Home the Victory!

Today, we celebrate our steps forward and better understand TLC's new rules. Tomorrow, get ready to hit the streets and stop the attack of Congestion Pricing so we can win a real Raise for All Drivers!

Now We Fight For More! Our Demands for our RAISE FOR ALL DRIVERS CAMPAIGN!

  1. Raise App Driver Payment Rates to NYTWA Proposal, require 80% to drivers: Initial Drop: $3.30; Distance; $3/mile; Time: $.60/minute

  2. If Uber charges the passenger more than these rates under Upfront Pricing, then driver gets 80% of the higher fare.  

  3. Set Minimum App Fare so driver cannot make below $10 amount on any trip 

  4. Cap on FHV Vehicle Finance and Lease (same as we won for yellows in 2012!) $350 per week cap for weekly leases; $275 per week for lease to buy financing   (and no more than $42,900 in total)

  5. Exempt Yellow cabs from Congestion Pricing

  6. Make yellow and green meter rates same as App driver payment rates! 

  7. Debt Relief for Medallion Owner-Drivers

  8. Cap TLC Fines & No more Suspensions/Revo same time as fines

  9. Retirement + Benefits for All Drivers  

Speak Up At the TLC Public Hearing on Congestion Pricing on Wednesday, Nov 28!!!

TLC HEARING ON CONGESTION PRICING
WEDNESDAY, NOV 28
10:00am
33 Beaver Street
(4/5 to Bowling Green; R/W to Rector Street)

STOP $2.50 CONGESTION PRICING FEE ON YELLOW CABS!!!

Keep up our fight to exempt yellow cabs from the $2.50 Congestion Pricing fee on all trips below 96th Street! Uber, Lyft, and other Apps will be able to charge 75cents for cars “available” for group rides, even if the car has only one passenger. Other App cars pay $2.75 per trip.

The majority of yellow cab trips will be affected. The meter will go up, but drivers get nothing. All the money will go to the MTA. Drivers will lose fares and tips will be wiped out. Owner-drivers struggling to keep up mortgages will be devastated. Call for yellows to be exempt, just like the state exempted liveries in 2009 from the 50cents MTA tax.

ATTENTION OWNER-DRIVERS!
If the congestion pricing fee will lead you to bankruptcy or foreclosure, you need to speak up at the TLC public hearing!

The City and State can still fix this!

Support for us is growing and there may be lawsuits. SPEAK UP about how hard it is to make anything right now and how the fee will affect you. Bring foreclosure, eviction, bankruptcy notices. The hearing will be packed with media and officials. To hear us, they have to see us! If you cannot come due to work, ask a family member or friend to come for you.

Vigil on Sunday, Nov. 18th to Honor the Life of Brother Roy Kim

Please join us on SUNDAY, November 18th to honor the life and service of Brother Roy Kim, a yellow cab owner-driver who took his own life on November 4th. Brother Roy is the 8th driver to take his own life in the past year.

Below is our statement on Brother Roy:

We are devastated by the news that an eighth New York City professional driver has died by suicide. Friends described Roy Kim as hardworking, quiet, and dignified. Roy worked six days a week up to 14 hours a day. Friends in his community of Korean yellow taxi drivers took him out to dinner to celebrate after he purchased his medallion in 2017. Owner-drivers have suffered a deep and vicious slide from the middle class into crushing poverty, in a just a few short years.  

This crisis can be fixed. The struggle for owner-drivers is reminiscent of the 2008 housing crisis. In that crisis, the industry, government, advocates, and philanthropy came to the table to find solutions. Now, banks and lenders need to work with the city and philanthropy to write off 20% of outstanding debts, lower interest rates, and restructure contracts so that no owner-driver has to lose more than 20% of their monthly income to the mortgage.  Drivers need a buffer to stop sinking. And that means financial relief.  While the city builds on the For-Hire-Vehicle cap and moves on a package of bills, including one that passed today on a Council Taskforce to study medallion debt, change can't come fast enough when every day is a struggle for drivers. 


Vigil to honor Brother Roy Kim
Sunday, November 18th
11:00am
Boathouse Bridge at
Flushing Meadows Park
Queens, NY 11375

Pack the Hearings Rooms To Say NO Congestion Pricing on Drivers' Backs!

ALL DRIVERS COME OUT TO PACK THE HEARING ROOMS!
Be at the City Council and TLC Public Hearings on Congestion Pricing to MAKE SOME NOISE & DEMAND EMERGENCY ACTION from the City to bring drivers out of crisis! Say NO Congestion Pricing on Drivers’ Backs!

Under Congestion Pricing, every yellow cab trip below 96th St. will have an extra $2.50 tax. The meter will start at $5.80 (plus night + rush hour surcharges).

Uber, Lyft, & All Apps will charge $.75 extra per trip for cars available for group rides, or $2.75 per trip on other cars.

We know yellow cabs will be more affected! If you are a yellow owner-operator or lease driver who fears you will be forced into bankruptcy, then please speak up!!!

Bring your loan and rent statements and tell your story!

Pack the Hearing Room!
City Council Hearing on Congestion Pricing
MONDAY, November 19th
10:00am
City Hall

Make Your Voice Heard!
TLC Hearing on Congestion Pricing
WEDNESDAY, November 28th
10:00am
33 Beaver St.

NYTWA's Free Monthly Vision & Hearing Screenings Start Next Week!

Stop by the NYTWA office anytime between 2:30pm - 5:30pm next Monday 11/12 and Tuesday 11/13 for our free monthly vision and hearing screenings! This is a free service we offer to members and families. No need to sign-up, just stop in! Drivers can also enroll in low-cost, specially discounted programs for NYTWA members!

FREE Vision & Hearing Screenings
For Members and Families

MONDAY, November 12th
&
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13th

Stop by anytime: 2:30pm - 5:30pm

NYTWA Office: 31-10 37th Avenue, 3rd floor LIC, NY 11101

Our free vision & hearing screenings are part of the benefits and services you receive as a NYTWA member. Your yearly dues help us build the union that works for drivers.

Vigil and Community Gathering Tomorrow to Honor Brother Fausto Luna

NYTWA is organizing a vigil and community outreach on Sunday, October 7th in honor of Fausto Luna.  Below is our statement on Brother Luna:

Our hearts are with the loved ones of brother Fausto Luna. To our brothers and sisters in crisis we know change can't come fast enough but change is coming and it will get better. To the public we ask that you open your hearts to the working men and women who have fallen into despair because of a business model of low pay, saturation and predatory lending spread across the globe by Uber and company leading to driver deaths by suicide in Australia, Taiwan, India, South Africa and NYC. Every city needs to take a deeper look at what happens when you let Wall Street backed corporations use billions of dollars in capital to lock workers into a prison of poverty. 

Vigil and Community Gathering
To Honor Brother Fausto Luna
Tomorrow: Sunday, October 7th
2:00pm
Start at 175th St and Fort Washington


We will be doing driver to driver outreach in the community following our vigil. Brother Luna is the seventh NYC driver, the first App driver, and the third Dominican driver to die by suicide in recent months. Stand together for hope and help.

All Drivers Come out for the TLC Public Hearing on Driver Pay!

The TLC is proposing to regulate the minimum App companies must pay drivers on every trip. Uber, Lyft, Via, Juno won't be able to cut rates anymore!

This is a first-time protection for App drivers in the country that we won through our City Council campaign!  

TLC's yellow and green driver proposals are all from NYTWA's petition! 

It's a start. Now we fight for more!


TLC PUBLIC HEARING!

TOMORROW Wednesday, October 3rd
10:00AM SHARP
One Bowling Green, Museum of the American Indian

About the TLC App Driver Payment Proposal

The TLC is proposing $1 per mile and 49.5c per minute. No minimum and initial base rate (also called, flag drop) and nothing on out-of-town fares. The TLC expects these fare rates to raise driver net pay by 14%. We disagree.

1) The TLC commissioned report underestimates actual driver expenses by as much as $10,000 per year.  

  • The report assumes an average weekly cost for a vehicle and insurance at $239/week.  

  • For a driver paying $390 a week for a vehicle, the annual difference between their actual expenses and the TLC expenses rate is $7,852. Assuming a 40-hour, 50-week annual work schedule, paid under the TLC's proposed driver pay rates, this driver's net pay, would only be $11.08, not $15, per hour.

2) Gross fares will, on average, remain close to the same as what Uber is already paying drivers per trip.

  • The 14% raise projected in the report assumes both Pool trips which are affected differently by this formula than non-Pool UberX trips.

  • TLC commissioned report did not analyze per trip data or separate out Pool trips from non-Pool trips.

  • The report assumes requiring companies to make up for trips where drivers gross less than a minimum wage standard, something which the TLC's current rule proposal does not require.

Understanding Upfront Pricing and Driver Payments

The TLC's approach allows companies to charge passengers one rate of fare and pay drivers at a different rate of fare for the trip. This is referred to as Upfront Pricing. The practice started in May 2017, just as Uber started charging passengers more, and has left drivers with the lowest percentage of the fare.

Screen Shot 2018-10-02 at 12.47.50 PM.png

NYTWA Research

The TLC commissioned report did not analyze per trip data, or compare what the passenger paid vs. what the driver received. We did.

NYTWA analyzed 183 UberX fares taken within New York City since 2017 and, in the aggregate, found the following:

1)  Current Upfront Pricing fares are 24% higher compared to what Uber charged in 2016

2) The real commission paid by Uber drivers on these fares would be 29.17%   

3)The current Upfront Pricing fares are 12% higher than the regulated taxi fare for the same trips.

Passengers are paying more but drivers are earning less.

Here is Our Proposal:

NYTWA proposes that the TLC mandate rates similar to what customers are already being charged by Uber so that drivers can benefit from a real raise, and also apply those rates to the yellow and green taxi meter, so drivers across all sectors can earn more and rise out of poverty.

1) Require App companies use following rates per trip and pay drivers 80% of total:

  • Initial Drop: $3.30

    1. Distance: $0.60 per 1/5 mile (Or $3.00 per 1 mile)

    2. Time: $0.60 per minute (if applied only to stop/slow time; to be adjusted if applied to whole time)

2) If customer agrees to pay Upfront Pricing (flat fare before trip starts), the driver is entitled to 80% whichever is higher, the Upfront Pricing or fare calculated on driver payment rates

3) Set Minimum Fare so despite meter rate, a driver cannot make below $10 amount on any trip

4) If after getting 80%, the driver is left under TLC established minimum wage (right now, it's $25 gross per hour), then the App company has to pay the rest to the driver

5) Double the meter (similar to Rate 4) on out of town fares

6) Use drivers' maximum expenses, not averages, when calculating potential driver income based on fare proposals

7) Between January - March, study the impact of Congestion Pricing on number of trips and fare revenue and impact of fare raise with these rates for the yellow and green meter so that all drivers can get a raise.

The TLC's approach locks drivers into minimum incomes per fare even when the company's revenue grows.  
NYTWA's proposal gives all App drivers a proper raise, prevents the minimum (the floor) from becoming the maximum (the ceiling) of what drivers can earn, lets App driver incomes to grow alongside corporate revenue; and allows for ALL drivers to eventually get a raise.  

App driver gross payments would go up by 31%. Drivers would still have a floor so their incomes wouldn't go lower.  Yellow and greencab driver fares could go up by 16%.

What We Support That the TLC Is Proposing:

APP:

  1. TLC regulation of minimum rates per trip

  2. $1 per passenger shared ride bonus

YELLOW AND GREEN:

  1. Reduce Credit Card fees for lease AND owner-drivers from $11 per shift to $7

  2. Brokers cannot charge a driver the credit card rate for two shifts if they are the only driver

  3. Broker must pay back a driver any insurance claim where the driver paid the for repairs

  4. Garage must pro-rate lease if car is dispatched late; and can pro-rate if car is brought back early

  5. Meter must show total fare end of trip 

    NYTWA Amendments to Driver Protection Rules

    The TLC is also proposing a number of regulations to protect drivers' right to information from the companies, and the TLC's right to data and documents as the regulator. Many are proposals also from NYTWA's April Rulemaking Petition. You can read the amendments here.

In order for ALL drivers to get a raise, we need App rates to be properly regulated. THIS is our chance.  

We fought so hard to have the TLC regulate how much drivers are making.  

Be there brothers and sisters to bring home our victory: TOMORROW Wednesday, October 3rd, 10am sharp, this time at 1 Bowling Green, the Museum of the American Indian.

NYTWA Testifies at City Council FHV Committee Hearing & Responds to FHV Bill Package!

Our Organizing Made Historic Cap + More Possible in August! Keep up the Momentum for Phase TWO Of Our City Council Victories!

Because of our organizing, we won a cap on the number of vehicles, which was just the start! The City Council also introduced bills in August that came straight from our Protect Full-Time Jobs campaign demands! We are keeping up the momentum to win protection for App drivers from predatory leasing practices, financial assistance for yellow cab owner-drivers, a health and benefits fund for all drivers, and MORE!

Today, NYTWA members who drive Uber and yellow cab testified in front of the City Council For Hire Vehicle (FHV) Committee on the bills!

NYTWA has been fighting for a lease cap for App-based drivers since December 2017. We have been calling for regulation on companies that lease or finance FHV cars: $350 per week cap for weekly leases and $275 cap per week for lease-to-buy financing (and no more than $42,900 in total).

NYTWA Member and former Uber Driver Abraham Lobe testified at the hearing to urge the City Council to stop the predatory leasing practices in the FHV sector. Read his full testimony below:

My name is Abraham Lobe. I am a proud member of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance.

I entered into a lease-to-own agreement for a used Lincoln MKT, for 3 years of $500 weekly payments. The car was already one year old with 30,000 miles on it. The estimated bluebook value would be around $28,500 while I paid $78,000. I was also required to fix repairs only at their garage.

The company would own the car until the end when they would sell it to me. About a year in, the company failed to renew the FHV license. Because they were the owner they had to do that-- they were the only ones who could file the TLC paperwork. With the license expired I couldn't drive for three weeks. They didn’t provide me a loaner car. I couldn’t work so I couldn’t keep up with my bills. No savings, no income, I became homeless.

When the car was ready, they told me to come back and sign on an electronic signature box to get it back. Later I found that they attached this signature to another contract that I had never seen--- this was a contract with a company with a totally different name, for even more payments than I had originally signed up for.

I paid them more than $78,000 but they refused to give me title to the car. They continued to bill for the weeks when I couldn't even use the car. They billed me for summonses that I had never heard of. I did a freedom of information request and found that they were charging for summonses that vehicle owners have to pay. They even charged for a summons related to the driver who had the car before me.

I made a complaint to TLC because they had put my signature on a contract they never showed me, but they took no action. In desperation, I went to the company to try to pay the extra money they wanted, to get the title to my car, even though I knew I shouldn't owe them that, but they wouldn't give it to me. They said they wouldn't let me make those payments because I had made a complaint to the TLC.

Even though they retaliated against me for making a complaint about forging my signature and trying to get me into a longer contract TLC has still done nothing.

We need the City Council to pass this bill, make sure the TLC passes rules that prevent this, and make sure that they actually enforce against violations.

NYTWA also testified that yellow cab medallion owner-drivers need real material support!

Nicanor Ochisor who took his own life in March 2018 was nearing retirement after splitting shifts with his wife for three decades.  A Grandfather in his sixties, he saw no prospects of retiring with dignity, but instead, the twilight years of his life in poverty after he'd served the city for over 30 years behind the wheel.  Two months later, Kenny Chow, took his own life.  Kenny's last medallion mortgage payment had bounced.  After losing his job in the jewelry industry, he entered the taxi business, using all of his savings and borrowed money to purchase a medallion to buy his job security.  As the industry took an economic downturn, Kenny found it impossible to keep up with operating expenses, let alone living expenses, such as college tuition and healthcare for his family.  The stories of Nicanor and Kenny reflect the two realities confronting owner-drivers across this industry.  For every Nicanor and Kenny fighting desperation, Int 1069 and Int 304 can build the path to providing real material support.

Read our comments and proposed amendments to the package of FHV bills below: