NYTWA Wins Historic Legal Decision! Let's Build on our Victory in Court with a Victory at City Hall!

NYTWA Wins Historic Victory: New York State Uber Drivers' Right to Unemployment Benefits!!

NYTWA Members just won a historic decision! The New York State unemployment Insurance Appeal Board just ruled that three of our members - and all other drivers treated like them by Uber - are employees with a right to Unemployment. Drivers now have some security when we get deactivated or if we leave the job because we can't make enough to cover expenses or earn less than Minimum Wage. Uber will now pay a price if they keep firing us, or over-hiring when there isn't enough work.

Uber keeps hiring drivers even though there is not enough work. When the bonuses end, the income dries up but the car payments remain. 42% of Uber and Lyft cars on the road are empty at all times. And still, App companies put out close to 2,000 new cars on the road every month. 25% of the new drivers leave Uber within a year in NYC. And then there are the drivers who are "deactivated" - the fancy Silicon Valley word for taking a person's job away.

Now, when drivers leave Uber because 1) you're not making enough to cover expenses, or 2) you're making below Minimum Wage, or 3) you were deactivated, you now have the right to Unemployment Insurance.

Until 2016, in NYS, when Uber drivers filed for Unemployment, the claims were just sitting there. We sued the Governor in Federal Court. We fought for two years. Represented by Brooklyn Legal Services and NYTWA's Staff Attorney, our Members Levon Aleksanian, Jakir Hossain (who was also found to be an employee of Lyft), and Jeffrey Shepherd Stood Up and Fought Back! And now, thousands of drivers have some security! 

When we fight back, we can win! Stand up for our next victory: our Campaign for City Council Action!!!

As we come close to the final round of our campaign, come together for detailed updates on City Council bills, and how to fight back against TLC interference and Uber's counter offensive. Let's Strategize Toward Victory!

Attend our
All Drivers GENERAL MEETINGS
TUESDAY, JULY 31st
At 12 Noon &
At 1:00 AM
NYTWA Office (31-10 37th Avenue, Suite 300)

The City Council and Mayor are making bills final. Votes could be at the August 8th Council General Assembly. We have the Momentum to Win! Defend our Demands! The TLC put a proposal that locks App drivers out of 80% of the fare revenue as Uber and Lyft's business grows - and locks yellow, green, livery, and black car drivers out of a raise. Uber launched a $2 million ad campaign against a Cap on Vehicles.

We have been campaigning for months. We have worked too hard. We have lost too many. We have too much to win. Stand up, Brothers and Sisters! Our Crisis Has a Solution!

BE SEEN TO BE HEARD
CITY COUNCIL GENERAL ASSEMBLY
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8th
12 Noon
Broadway & Murray

As we strategize and continue to mobilize, don't forget to call your Council Member with our demands! Click here to look up your Council Member by entering your street address & borough!

Rally for City Hall Action This Tuesday, July 10th!

Join us on TUESDAY, July 10th at 1pm, Broadway and Murray, outside City Hall for a Rally for City Council Action.  The TLC put out a proposal that would basically keep App drivers at no more than $15 an hour and meanwhile, yellow cab, green cab, black car and livery drivers would be locked out of ever getting a fare raise, all because they don’t want to properly regulate Uber.

Stand Up, Brothers and Sisters, this is a critical moment.  Don’t let the TLC or anybody else run interference with our victory for a cap on FHV cars and the taxi meter as minimum fare across the industry.  We need the Council to take action and many City Council Members are on our side.  Let them see us!  Keep up the pressure!  We know that the solution to our crisis is in our demands!  See you on Tuesday at Broadway and Murray at City Hall, 1pm.

 

RALLY FOR CITY HALL ACTION
THIS TUESDAY, JULY 10th
1:00pm
CITY HALL: BROADWAY & MURRAY

MAKE SOME NOISE! RALLY FOR COUNCIL ACTION ON JULY 10th!

RALLY FOR COUNCIL ACTION
TUESDAY, JULY 10th
1:00pm
CITY HALL: BROADWAY & MURRAY

This is it! This is the moment to win change! 

We have rallied, we have called, we have built a wall around City Hall every day. Now the City Council is preparing to vote on first-time regulations on Uber and company. WE NEED TO MAKE SOME NOISE!  WE DEMAND CHANGE NOW!

On June 18th, the Mayor said he's ready, "Let's go!"
On June 17th, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson tweeted: The Council is working on finding solutions that will help bring fairness to the industry.
Now that the Council has ended Budget season - it's time for action on our bills! The Council has scheduled its summer assemblies and the first one is July 18th. Bills will need to be amended & finalized by July 11th in order for the bills to be eligible for a vote on July 18th!

The TLC has also said they will be proposing new rules from our Petition in July to address the drivers' crisis. This is our moment to win change! MAKE SOME NOISE! FILL THE STREETS ON JULY 10th!

RALLY FOR COUNCIL ACTION
TUESDAY, JULY 10th
1:00PM AT BROADWAY & MURRAY

As we continue to keep pressure on City Council, tell your Council Member to add NYTWA's 9 demands to the bills! You can look up your Council Member by entering your address & borough at this link, or call the union office at 718-706-9892 and we can tell you.

Join our Protest Line outside City Hall!

Join our Protest Line outside City Hall every Monday - Friday from 10am to 6pm until victory!

Come by City Hall anytime from Monday through Friday, 10am to 6pm, at Broadway & Murray to keep up the pressure on City Council until they pass our demands!

We meet Council Members, their staff, and Mayor's Office officials! On our first day, the Mayor took our flyer with Drivers' Demands! Allies and members of the public stop by to show their support and solidarity!

Join us: change your shift at City Hall or take a quick break!
Monday - Friday
10AM - 6PM
Broadway & Murray

Day 1: We handed the Drivers' Demands directly to the Mayor!

Days 2 & 3: Council Member Jumaane Williams chants, "Driver Power!" and Council Member Koo stops by to show support!

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Day 6: National Employment Law Project (NELP) stops by to show support!

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Day 7: Members of AFSCME DC37, NYC's largest public sector union, stand in solidarity with NYTWA members!

NYTWA Statement on Janus v. AFSCME

The Supreme Court is no friend to the working class. A day after its shameful ruling on the Muslim & Refugee ban, the court guts workers rights in its ruling on Janus v AFSCME.

Our statement on Wednesday, June 27th:

The Supreme Court has once again shown that it is on the side of the rich and powerful rather than the workers on whose sweat this country runs. The working class and the poor build collective power through unions, all the more necessary to balance the scales at a time of unprecedented income inequality. Public sector unions have increasingly functioned as a line of defense for a labor movement under constant attack in the private sector, where many workers have been stripped of collective bargaining rights and blocked from the courts through forced arbitration.

We know all too well the consequences of these attacks on workers. Yellow taxi drivers lost recognized collective bargaining rights 30 years ago when the dispatch and commission system was replaced by street hails and vehicle leasing. And though today's for-hire drivers are under commission and dispatched just as yellow taxi drivers once were, the drivers are misclassified as independent contractors and denied collective bargaining rights. Stripped of these basic rights, drivers across all sectors are now in a daily struggle for survival as Wall Street billionaires lead us on a race to the bottom with no laws to stop them.

This ruling is unconscionable but may it ring as a wake up call: collective bargaining gives workers rights to democratic representation and puts legal pressure on the bosses to negotiate fairly. But it's worker organizing that builds unions and our uncompromising militancy that builds power.

Corporations cheering from the sidelines while the highest court in the land guts unions may have forgotten that our nation's labor laws were created largely to quell worker unrest. If workers cannot turn to the law to protect us, we have no choice but to take to the streets.

NYTWA MEMBERS STAND TOGETHER TO SAY: NO MUSLIM BAN EVER!

On Tuesday, June 26th when the Supreme Court ruled to uphold Trump's hateful Muslim & Refugee Ban, NYTWA members came together at Foley Square and at JFK to say: No Muslim Ban Ever!

The highest court in the land is greenlighting Islamophobia. But we know that laws don't always protect the oppressed in this country -- slavery was legal, interning Japanese Americans was legal.

When the law fails us we must heed the call of justice and organize.

While we fight our biggest campaign for economic justice and stand together to overcome our crisIs, we continue to stand in solidarity with our neighbors across the globe for a humane world of peace with justice.

NO BAN!
NO WALL!
NO DRONES!
NO CAMPS!

NYTWA Members stand in solidarity at Foley Square protest against Muslim Ban

NYTWA Members stand in solidarity at Foley Square protest against Muslim Ban

NYTWA members at JFK to say: NO BAN, NO WALL, NO DRONES, NO CAMPS

NYTWA members at JFK to say: NO BAN, NO WALL, NO DRONES, NO CAMPS

Fill the Streets 'Til Victory!

NYTWA members outside City Hall Gates on June 18th honor Brother Abdul Saleh, the sixth driver to take his own life in recent months due to economic desperation. Drivers were joined by Council Member Ruben Diaz, Sr. & Congressman Adriano Espaillat

NYTWA members outside City Hall Gates on June 18th honor Brother Abdul Saleh, the sixth driver to take his own life in recent months due to economic desperation. Drivers were joined by Council Member Ruben Diaz, Sr. & Congressman Adriano Espaillat

In the wake of the sixth driver suicide in 7 months, we stood in front of City Hall today to make a promise: We will be at City Hall every day, Monday thru Friday, until City Council passes legislation to stop the drivers' crisis. 

RISE UP!
JOIN US ON THE PROTEST LINE!
MONDAY - FRIDAY
CITY HALL (BROADWAY & MURRAY)
10AM - 6PM

Several Council Members have introduced bills! We need them amended to include our demands, and we need them passed NOW! No More Waiting!

No more. Not One More Driver Lost. Our Crisis Can Be Fixed, and We Want Action Now!

CAMPAIGN TO PROTECT OUR FULL-TIME JOBS

Do Not Give Up. We Will Overcome This Crisis Together.
 

Rest in Peace, Brother Abdul Saleh. Brother Saleh was a yellow cab lease driver who served the city for over 30 years and took his own life at the age of 59.

Reach out for help. It is there for all of us. 
Unite to win change. Together, we have the power.

If you or someone you know needs to talk about feeling depressed, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Please know we are also here. You can come to the office to talk or even just to relax and be in the company of fellow drivers and all of us at the union who stand with you. We are together.

Join us for a press conference outside of the gates of City Hall (Broadway & Murray) on Monday, June 19th at 11:00AM

NYTWA released a statement following the tragic death of Brother Abdul Saleh:

On Eid al-Fitr, a day that Muslim families come together to celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramadan, Abdul Saleh took his life because he saw no end to the burden of poverty.

Six of our brothers have now committed suicide in recent months, their livelihoods devastated by a business model that fails to recognize the basic humanity of the workers who keep our city moving and by a political system that prefers sound bytes to solutions to economic desperation. 

Brother Abdul was 59 years old and he should have been planning for retirement and rest after 30 years of serving the public and the city, but instead he was exhausted by the cruelty of ending each 12-hour workday with less in his pocket than the day before. Many aging drivers no longer see retirement in sight and can't imagine continuing to work such a grueling job until their last day on earth.

These suicides from financial desperation come at a time when income inequality is at a record high and after the CDC acknowledged that economic hardship increased the risk of suicide. This is more than a mental health issue. 

We will not allow the status quo of callousness toward struggling drivers to continue for one more day. We will not sit idly by as Wall street behemoths and their shills try to derail regulation or limit it to just one sector of drivers when every driver in every sector - including yellow taxi lease drivers, yellow taxi owner-drivers, green cab drivers, livery drivers black car drivers, and app-dispatched drivers - is sinking deeper into profound desperation. 

Suicide can't be the only way that desperate poor people find mercy.


Our Momentum is Building! Our Movement is Growing! We Must Keep up the Fight 'Til Victory!

Drivers with signs that say, "WE ARE NOT EXPENDABLE!" at our May 29th Rally for City Council Action on Our Demands

Drivers with signs that say, "WE ARE NOT EXPENDABLE!" at our May 29th Rally for City Council Action on Our Demands

Our May 29th Rally for City Council Action on Our Demands covered Broadway from Murray to Warren! The strength of our unity was being tested, and we delivered! Together we said, "Stop the Greed! Regulate Wall Street!" and "One License! One Meter!"

We must keep up the pressure for our demands and keep City Council honest! Look up your Council Member at this link by entering your street address & borough and voice support for our demands. Let's flood their offices with calls to say: We Need Action Now!"


Rest In Peace
Yu Mein Kenny Chow
Father, Husband, Brother, Friend, NYC Taxi Driver

On May 27, 2018 NYTWA held a vigil for brother Kenny Chow, a yellow cab owner-driver pushed to suicide by financial ruin. His family and friends feared suicide after his vehicle was found abandoned on East 86th Street and East End Avenue, near the East River on May 11th.
Richard Chow, Brother of Kenny Chow, praying at vigil on May 27th, overlooking the East River at 86th St & East End Avenue.

Richard Chow, Brother of Kenny Chow, praying at vigil on May 27th, overlooking the East River at 86th St & East End Avenue.


WATCH NYTWA TESTIFY AT APRIL 30th CITY COUNCIL HEARING


NYTWA MEMBERS RALLIED AT CITY HALL TO MOURN FOUR DRIVER SUICIDES AND TO DEMAND ACTION

On Wednesday, March 28, NYTWA members, including yellow cab, green car, black car, and app-dispatched rivers, gathered on the steps of City Hall to mourn four colleagues who committed suicide in the past four months and to demand immediate action by the Mayor. Drivers stood with Gabriel Ochisor, the son of Nicanor Ochisor, a yellow taxi owner-driver who committed suicide on March 16th. Drivers gathered to also honor and remember Danilo Corporan Castillo and Alfredo Perez, Bronx livery drivers, and Douglas Schifter, a black car driver.

All four drivers were pushed to financial ruin by unregulated Wall Street darlings Uber and Lyft who in 2016 had more lobbyists than Walmart, Microsoft and Amazon combined. Meanwhile, an MIT study found more than half of Uber drivers earn below minimum wage.

We must stop treating the devastation of people's lives as inevitable. We cannot allow Uber to continue to destroy lives for a business model that hasn't even been proven sustainable. We must come together now and demand protections for ALL drivers and for rational regulations that level the playing field.

Two days after the City Hall Demonstration, Mayor de Blasio said it was time to consider regulating companies like Uber and to put a cap on the number of for-hire-vehicles. We must continue to put pressure on our elected officials! 

Drivers stand in solidarity with Gabriel Ochisor, son of Nicanor Ochisor

Drivers stand in solidarity with Gabriel Ochisor, son of Nicanor Ochisor

NYTWA members chanting, "We Need Action Now!" in the wake of four driver suicides.

NYTWA members chanting, "We Need Action Now!" in the wake of four driver suicides.

To see more photos from the City Hall demonstration as well as photos of members mobilizing for the action, please see our Facebook photo album featuring drivers from all sectors of the industry and all walks of life.


GOFUNDME CAMPAIGN FOR THE OCHISOR FAMILY

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Nicanor Ochisor, who took his own life on March 16, was an immigrant worker and yellow taxi medallion owner-driver who drove with his wife, an increasing pattern among drivers' families working around the clock without time to rest or recuperate with loved ones, adding to the crushing devastation of poverty. Nicanor lost his life savings and was pushed to financial ruin when New York City broke its promise to professional drivers. If you are interested in supporting the Ochisor family, they have started a GoFundMe campaign to pay off his medallion so his wife can finally retire.


On Feburary 6, 2018 we held a vigil in honor of driver brother Douglas Schifter. In his final words, a suicide note he posted on Facebook, Douglas wrote that the saturation of for-hire vehicles destroyed his full-time job and pushed him to financial ruin.

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Read our OpEd in the New York Daily News:
 "It's An Emergency for the City's Drivers: Start Acting Like It, Mr. Mayor"

"I've been to more hospital rooms, ERs, eviction proceedings, immigration hearings, police precincts and funeral homes than I can remember. When you organize taxi workers, it's part of the drill.
But in my 21 years, this month was our first vigil for a driver who committed suicide due to the despair from a fleeting full-time job..."

Watch our interview on Democracy Now! about Douglas' powerful post, the crisis facing drivers, and the political structure that protects Wall Street's gig economy.


New York Times columnist Ginia Bellafante spoke to NYTWA about the increasing struggles faced by NYC drivers.

"A Drivers' Suicide Reveals the Dark Side of the Gig Economy"

"In 2013, there were 47,000 for-hire vehicles in the city. Now there were more than 100,000, approximately two-thirds of them affiliated with Uber. While Uber sold that "disruption" as positive for riders, for many taxi workers, it has been devastating."