February 15, 2019: NYTWA Statement on Uber Suing NYC to Stop Vehicle Cap

On February 15, 2019 Uber sued New York City to stop the cap on for-hire-vehicles.

Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (she/her), released the following statement: 

"Eight drivers have now died by suicide because of the crisis Uber created. That's why Uber drivers and yellow cab drivers from across the city united to win the historic cap on for-hire-vehicles -- to put an end to the financial despair, debt, and poverty that is literally killing our brothers.  With more than 80,000 Uber cars on our roads, no driver can get enough fares to feed our families. Uber created this crisis of congestion on our streets. Uber caused this crisis of plummeting incomes for all drivers. And Uber is worsening the MTA crisis, siphoning income away from public transit by subsidizing its passenger fares. 

"Yet, here and across the globe, Uber thinks it is above the law. The company wants the right to add more and more cars to our streets without limit. But there is a very human cost to Uber's business practices. Uber is arguing that the congestion surcharge on taxis, something the company lobbied for, makes the cap unnecessary. But Uber created this congestion. Uber's logic is a real head scratcher. The absurdity would be laughable if the consequences on drivers hadn't been so tragic."

January 31, 2019: NYTWA Statement on Congestion Pricing Surcharge Lawsuit

On Thursday, January 31, 2019 NYTWA Executive Director Bhairavi Desai (she/her) released the following statement on the Congestion Pricing lawsuit following judge's denial of the state's motion to dismiss the case, and lifting of the temporary restraining order: 

"We feel triumphant that the state's motion to dismiss was denied and it gives us hope that ultimately the state will do the right thing and spare drivers the poverty and crisis that would result from this congestion fee. The judge lifted the restraining order, putting the authority back into the governor's hands on whether to burden taxi drivers with the surcharge while the case continues. 

"We're calling on the governor not to move forward with fees that will force drivers to choose between food and medicine. That is how dire the poverty is now among this workforce that has lost eight of our brothers to suicide in less than a year. 

"Implementing the surcharge while the lawsuit continues could put the the industry in the predicament of figuring out how to refund passengers, even those who paid with cash, should the drivers ultimately win the case.

"Given that Albany is already renegotiating a new congestion pricing plan, the surcharge on taxis and for-hire vehicles should be reconsidered within these broader proposals. That's why we're heading to Albany on February 5th."

Judge's interim order can be found here. 

January 30, 2019: Lyft/Juno Lawsuit Update on Judge’s Decision & NYTWA Statement

"Drivers are at a breaking point. Maybe it's time for us to start talking about going on strike."

Today, New York State Supreme Court Judge responded to Juno and Lyft's lawsuits against the new app driver pay rule that was scheduled to go into effect this Friday, February 1, 2019, ruling that the companies will have to put money into escrow that would have gone to drivers from minimum pay standard. The next hearing is scheduled for March 18. In the meantime, drivers will not see the raise they were due.

NYTWA Executive Director Bhairavi Desai (she/her) released the following statement:

"Drivers aren't getting the raise we were promised to lift us out of poverty. And the state wants to add a new congestion surcharge on our fares. Eight professional drivers have committed suicide in New York City in little over a year.  Meanwhile, driver incomes continue to plummet due to the greed of these titans of the gig economy. 

"Now, Lyft and Juno are turning to the same courts that they bar their drivers from accessing through forced arbitration to fight against paying minimum wage. 

"Drivers are at a breaking point. Maybe it's time for us to start talking about going on strike."

January 30, 2019: NYTWA Statement on Lyft & Juno Suit to Block NYC Minimum Pay Rule for App Drivers

The following statement can be attributed to Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (She/Her): 

"Shame on Lyft and Juno. These companies are collectively valuated at billions of dollars but claim to be too broke to pay drivers even minimum wage.

"Lyft, Juno and, no doubt, Uber, know their empire of poverty pay gigs is beginning to unravel and they're desperate for every dollar, especially leading up to their IPOs.  Drivers organized too hard to win this victory and there is no way these companies will steal it from our hands.

"These titans of the gig economy have always pushed for policies that leave workers in poverty and debt. They misclassify drivers as independent contractors to strip workers of the most basic state and federal labor rights. Then they spend millions fighting for exemptions to the few local regulations that do exist. And they use forced arbitration in their contracts to prevent drivers from seeking justice through the courts. 

"Now, ironically, they're turning to the same courts their drivers are barred from in their contracts to fight against paying workers minimum wage."

January 5, 2019: NYTWA statement on resignation of TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi

The following statement can be attributed to Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (She/Her): 

"The timing of commissioner Joshi's resignation is concerning because the crisis for New York City drivers is far from over and the Taxi and Limousine Commission's work to fix it is just beginning. The TLC is on a path to finally make drivers' lives better, from supporting the first-ever cap on Uber and setting a minimum rate of pay for app drivers, to standing with us in calling out the devastating congestion surcharge on a workforce facing financial ruin. The next steps on that path are to set one minimum rate of fare across all sectors and win a raise for all drivers. That work needs to continue under whomever the mayor appoints as the new chairperson."

December 5, 2018: NYTWA Statement on Taxi & Limousine Commission Vote on First-Ever Minimum Pay Standard for Uber Drivers

Statement: "It's the first real attempt anywhere to stop app driver pay cuts, which is an Uber and Lyft business practice at the heart of poverty wages."

(New York, NY) Today, the Taxi and Limousine Commission is voting on a minimum pay standard for NYC's app-dispatched drivers. The pay standard is the result of organizing that NYTWA began in 2015 when we first protested against Uber cutting driver pay rates. It is an important step toward solving the crisis hurting drivers in every sector. NYTWA is the only union that has united drivers across all sectors -- Uber, yellow taxi, green cab, black car, and livery -- and that continues to fight for a raise for all drivers. 

In another victory for NYTWA members, the TLC is also voting to lower the credit card processing fee drivers pay medallion owners from $11 to $7, saving yellow and green drivers about $1,000 per year, and on raising driver compensation for trips when operating wheelchair accessible vehicles. 

NYTWA Executive Director Bhairavi Desai released the following statement: 

Today's vote on a minimum pay standard for app drivers is the result of a campaign that NYTWA began in 2016 when Uber cut rates overnight on drivers and simultaneously saturated the streets with vehicles, leaving each driver with fewer fares and less income per fare. It was the beginning of the race to the bottom that has caused poverty across this workforce. NYTWA mobilized hundreds of Uber drivers to protest against those pay cuts, and we have continued to organize to raise standards for Uber drivers, as well as drivers in every other sector. 
This first-time regulation to form a floor for app driver earnings and give a modest first raise is a long time in the making. 
It's the first real attempt anywhere to stop app driver pay cuts, which is an Uber and Lyft business practice at the heart of poverty wages.  
Just as it did with the vehicle cap, New York City is once again passing landmark regulation to protect workers in the unruly gig economy.  

Ultimately, the TLC needs to regulate Uber and Lyft passenger rates, guarantee that app drivers get 80 percent of those rates, and regulate the yellow/green meter to charge the same minimum rates, so drivers across the industry can earn a raise.  
NYTWA has worked tirelessly to expose Uber's Upfront Pricing scheme of charging passengers more while cutting driver pay. App drivers shouldn't be cheated out of earning more when app companies charge more to passengers. And yellow, green, livery and black car drivers - all devastated by poverty and debt - shouldn't be left behind.  

We commend the TLC for regulating companies that together have more lobbyists than Amazon, Walmart, and Microsoft combined. The TLC held hearings and commissioned a ground-breaking report, securing its legal authority by leading with moral clarity.  We will continue the fight to make sure the landmark pay standard is a stepping stone for all drivers across the industry.  

Read More

November 15, 2018: NYTWA Calls on City Council to Exempt Yellow Cabs from Congestion Pricing

NYTWA Calls on City Council to Exempt Yellow Cabs from Congestion Pricing 

Failure to Act will lead to more Bankruptcies and Homelessness Among Drivers 

Eight drivers pushed to suicide by financial despair in the past year

Drivers from every sector, yellow cab, black car, livery and Uber drivers themselves are facing foreclosures, bankruptcies and homelessness at an unprecedented rate

(New York, NY) After eight drivers were pushed to suicide by financial devastation in the past year, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance is calling on City Council to intervene to exempt yellow cabs from congestion pricing. Four of the eight suicides in the past year were yellow cab drivers, three of whom had been sunk into poverty after purchasing their own medallions -- ones a sure route to a middle class income. Among them was yellow taxi owner-driver Roy Kim the most recent driver to die by suicide.

Read More

November 14, 2018: 8th NYC Professional Driver Dead by Suicide

Yellow Cab Owner-Driver Roy Kim is the 8th NYC professional driver and third yellow cab owner-driver to die by suicide

On November 14, 2018, Bhairavi Desai, New York Taxi Workers Alliance Executive Director, released the following statement:

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.

Since learning of Roy Kim's death from his friends, NYTWA has been working closely with his community to plan a payer ceremony.

September 17, 2018: Uber & Yellow Cab Driver Members of NYTWA Testify at Council Hearing on Second Round of Bills to Stop Crisis Hurting NYC Drivers

Continuing Momentum from Uber Cap Victory, City Council Considers New Package of Bills Based on NYTWA Demands: 

  • Cap Leasing Expenses for Uber Drivers & Stop Predatory Lending

  • Financial Relief for Struggling Yellow Taxi Owner-Drivers

  • Health & Wellness Fund

  • Office of Inclusion & Racial Justice Training for Drivers

  • Protections from wage theft, financial education & support centers 

Click here for NYTWA's comments on the bills & our proposed amendments 

(New York, NY) Today at 10AM, the New York City Council will hold a hearing on a package of bills that come directly from NYTWA's policy platform. NYTWA is the only union uniting Uber and yellow cab drivers and it is because of our unity campaign that we were able to win the historic cap on new for-hire-vehicles in New York City and the minimum wage for app-dispatched drivers. Yellow cab and Uber drivers united for 25 actions in six months. Members from both of these sectors will be testifying at today's hearing about the proposed legislation including on proposed bills to stop predatory lending in the for-hire sector just like NYTWA previously won in the yellow cab sector and to support struggling yellow cab owner-drivers. NYTWA will submit proposed amendments to the draft bills today as well. 

Read More

August 14, 2018: Historic Victory for Drivers as Mayor Signs Into Law Uber Cap and Other Bills Championed by New York Taxi Workers Alliance

NYTWA Statement: "This legislation creates a blueprint for the rest of the world and is a direct result of NYTWA's groundbreaking organizing to unite yellow cab and Uber drivers..." 

August 14, 2018

(New York, NY) Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign landmark legislation into law to regulates app companies like Uber and Lyft for the first time. The one-year for-hire-vehicle cap is will go into effect immediately. The legislation also gives the Taxi and Limousine Commission the authority to initiate rulemaking on minimum pay rates for app drivers and minimum rates of passenger fare in the for-hire sector. In response to NYTWA's policy proposals,the City Council has also introduced legislation to stop predatory lending to Uber and Lyft drivers just as NYTWA previously won for yellow cab lease drivers, to create an Office of Inclusion to address race-based refusals, to provide financial assistance for struggling owner-drivers, and to create a health and wellness fund for drivers in every sector. 

NYTWA members have mobilized nonstop since last November to make this victory possible. Last week, family members of the six drivers who committed suicide joined us for actions leading up to the City Council vote. George Schifter, the brother of black car driver Doug Schifter, who shot himself outside City Hall, flew all the way from Florida to join us for the vote.  
NYTWA Executive Director Bhairavi Desai released the follow statement:

"Today, New York City is hitting pause on the economic hemorrhaging that has left tens of thousands of immigrant families in chaos and despair. Driver incomes across all sectors have been in a downward spiral as Uber and Lyft flooded our streets. The immediate cap on new For-Hire-Vehicles puts a stop to that. Now, yellow taxi, green cab, black car, livery, Uber and Lyft drivers can finally hope for stability.
This legislation creates a blueprint for the rest of the world and is a direct result of NYTWA's groundbreaking organizing to unite yellow cab and Uber drivers, as well as green cab, black car, and livery drivers. Through our shared struggle we created NYTWA's policy platform and the legislation being signed into law today stems from our proposals to solve this crisis. 
"NYTWA members organized more than 25 actions since November 2017, including 12 demonstrations between February 2018 up to the August 8th City Council vote. 

"This is a victory of worker power over Wall Street greed."

Read More

August 8, 2018: NYTWA Statement on NYC Council Passing First-Time Regulations on Uber & Lyft After Months of Mobilizations by NYTWA Members

"This victory belongs to yellow cab, green cab, livery, black car, Uber and Lyft drivers who united together in our union to transform our shared struggle and heartbreak into hope and strength."

(New York, NY) On Wednesday, August 8 the New York City Council voted to enact first-of-its-kind legislation regulating the App-dispatch sector, including Uber and Lyft. NYTWA members have been campaigning non-stop over several months and have been sounding the alarm about the economic crisis among drivers in every sector for years. Six New York City drivers have committed suicide in recent months, unable to survive the crushing poverty brought on by the over saturation of for-hire-vehicles on our streets.

Read More

July 27, 2018: NYTWA Statement on Proposed For-Hire-Vehicle CAP in NYC

JULY 27, 2018

(New York, NY) On Thursday, July 26, Politico and The New York Times reported that the City Council was moving forward with a bill to cap For-Hire-Vehicles, including cars dispatched by Uber and Lyft, for the first time in the country. Through our unity campaign of yellow cab, green cab, livery, black car, and app-dispatched drivers, NYTWA members have been fighting for this cap for more than three years, holding rallies and marches and spreading the word about the financial crisis that has lead six professional drivers to suicide. Our movement also pushed the City Council to introduce legislation to stop predatory lending in the for-hire sector and authorize a health fund - something NYTWA members won several years ago but which got held up in court by the bosses. Earlier this month, NYTWA won a historic victory for our Uber driver members - the NYS Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board rejected Uber's 11th hour attempt to withdraw their appeal and ruled that three of our Uber driver members and all those similarly situated are employees with rights to unemployment benefits. 

Read More

July 19, 2018: NY Uber Drivers Are Employees with Right to Unemployment Insurance

NYS Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board Issues FINAL Ruling Rejecting Uber's Position & Siding with NYTWA Uber Driver Members

It is Now the Official Position of New York State that These Three Drivers & All Those Similarly Situated are Employees of Uber for the Purposes of Unemployment Insurance

JULY 19, 2018

(New York, NY) The New York State Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board has rejected Uber's 11th hour attempt to withdraw their appeal and issued a ruling that three NYTWA members and former Uber drivers and all those similarly situated are employees of the company for the purposes of Unemployment Insurance.

This is the final decision from the NYS Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board meaning that it is now the official position of the State of New York that these three Uber drivers and all those similarly situated who quit because they can't make ends meet or are "deactivated" through no fault of their own are employees for the purposes of unemployment insurance benefits. The landmark decision sets a precedent for Uber drivers who apply for Unemployment Insurance in the future and could also be persuasive in other contexts where the employment status of Uber drivers is in question.

Read More

NYTWA Responds to July 2nd TLC Report & Recommendations

NYTWA Responds to Taxi & Limousine Commission Report & Recommendations: This study confirms that Uber & Lyft's business model is pushing even their own drivers into poverty

Now we call on City Council to enact NYTWA's policy solutions to help drivers in EVERY sector - including black car drivers, livery drivers, yellow cab lease drivers, owner-drivers, green car drivers, and app-dispatched drivers - and for the TLC not to enact reckless piecemeal policy that leaves drivers in poverty

Click here to read NYTWA's policy proposals

New York, NY: Today economists commissioned by the Taxi and Limousine Commission released a study that shows that the unregulated Uber, Lyft business model of oversaturation that has left drivers across the industry in despair also impoverishes the companies' own drivers.  Six drivers from across the industry have committed suicide due to economic despair, and now the city has its own numbers on the app driver side to confirm what we have always known: the race to the bottom is across the entire workforce. Uber starves the Uber driver to starve the black car, livery, green cab, and yellow taxi driver. 

Read More

June 27, 2018: 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.

JUNE 27, 2018

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.

Read More