Campaign To Protect Full-Time Jobs!
As we get ready to demonstrate and rally, join us in gathering postcards to the Mayor, Council Speaker & Governor to call for Urgent Action!
- LIMIT ON NUMBER OF FOR-HIRE-VEHICLES
- REGULATE YELLOW / GREEN METER AS BASE RATE ACROSS INDUSTRY. No company can go lower.
- RAISE CURRENT RATES
- NO CONGESTION PRICING ON DRIVERS' BACKS
- HEALTH & WELLNESS FUND w retirement
Dear Mayor DeBlasio, Speaker Johnson & Governor Cuomo:
I am a NYC TLC-licensed driver. Three of my fellow drivers killed themselves from the economic desperation we feel every day. We drivers are in a crisis. The Uber/Lyft & co. Wall Street business model is killing us. Every day, we are working longer hours, risking our health and safety, and getting more poor. Yellow taxi medallion owner-drivers are facing bankruptcy and foreclosure. Greencab drivers (majority permit holders) are seeing the market disappear in less than 3 years after it was first created through law and years of driver struggle. Traditional black car and livery drivers are in desperate scramble to find fares. Meanwhile, the drivers for Uber/Lyft & co. are barely making minimum wage. All 100,000 drivers are losing in a vicious race to the bottom. We ask you to hear our urgent plea and to stand with the workers, not with Wall Street. Support the demands of our New York Taxi Workers Alliance!
IN THE NAME OF OUR BROTHERS
On Monday, Feb. 5th, long-time black car driver Douglas Schifter shot himself at the entrance of City Hall. Two livery drivers, Alejandro Corporan and Alfredo Perez, both killed themselves in December. The poverty caused by Uber/Lyft Wall Street business model and the Governor, Mayor, City Council & state legislature turning a blind eye to drivers’ suffering destroyed these brothers’ lives. NO MORE. Not one more driver death in vain. We cannot despair. We Must Organize.
On February 6, 2018 we held a vigil in honor of Douglas. 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.
The poverty caused by Uber/Lyft Wall Street business model and the Governor, Mayor, City Council & state legislature turning a blind eye to drivers’ suffering destroyed these brothers’ lives. NO MORE. Not one more driver death in vain. We cannot despair. We Must Organize.
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 Driver’s 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 has sold that “disruption” as positive for riders, for many taxi workers, it has been devastating.
Support NYTWA's work in 2018
2018 is NYTWA's 20th anniversary and we are reaching out to you, our community of allies, for your financial support. We are a union with a small budget staring down Wall Street titans during a historic economic shift. We are a grass-roots, predominantly immigrants of color, workers' organization that stood up to the biggest bully in the world when we went on strike at JFK Airport to oppose the Muslim ban. NYTWA works around the clock and organizes with a shoestring budget and staff. Now we need your support.
Even though we don't have dues check-off, twenty years ago, we set a goal that driver contributions would always make up the most of our revenue. In 2017, we are so proud to share with you that 87% of our revenue was from our mass base of drivers. Out of total revenue of $910,000 for the year, we raised $785,000 from our members. I have never seen drivers in more dismal poverty than the conditions today, yet they continue to choose to fund their union.
Our request comes with an urgency as we seek to launch our biggest campaign against Wall Street's Ubernomics and its policies of impoverishment. We're fighting against a new corporate model in which companies maintain Uber-like control over workers while stripping drivers of full-time pay and worker protections.
Though App-based work is less than 1% of the economy, these Wall Street darlings are waging war on workers across the country, fighting for legislation to destroy wage protections and corporate accountability. In 20 states, they have already won legislation precluding labor rights for all workers dispatched through an App. That means there is no floor on wages to stop the race to the bottom, no local law to regulate the industry, no federal protections for unionization.
Without mass mobilization of workers on the frontlines of this attack, simply put, our side can't win. Economic growth will constitute poor, part-time gigs with no worker safety nets and the anti-democratic attack on collective bargaining will strengthen. But workers have power to dawn a new day. And when we organize, we unleash that power.
2017 started with our JFK Airport Solidarity Strike against the Muslim ban on January 28, galvanizing solidarity in the fight against the politics of hate. We estimate drivers collectively chose to sacrifice close to $100,000 during the strike. Our opposition statement garnered 1 million views on Facebook alone and solidarity for our strike led to the unprecedented consumer-driven and directed campaign, #DeleteUber.
The moment demanded a fight back and our members, seasoned at organizing, heeded the call. The history books will forever note that a poor people's organization of largely Muslim workers and majority immigrants of color with a barebones budget led the first strike in the United States against the Trump presidency.
NYTWA as stood as the premiere organization fighting Wall Street's business model of misclassification and poverty gig work. NYTWA members also became the reason that Uber Technologies, the world's highest valuated company, had to make its biggest payout for wage theft - $80 million. NYTWA members' federal lawsuit has had Uber running scared. In another case, our members - whose claims gathered dust until we sued the Governor - and their attorneys also won the first ruling by a NYS Law Judge declaring drivers to be employees eligible for Unemployment Insurance. One of our members effectively qualified for unemployment after earning poverty pay - during one week, Jeff brought home as little as a penny in income. Our ultimate victory was the game-changing win of unemployment benefits for these workers - meaning they were classified as employees of Uber.
We aren't resting after our recent victories. Instead, we are building momentum. But we need more resources to keep winning. We have a staff of only seven full-time and two part-time to organize for a 100,000-workforce, serving 15,000 drivers who walk into our office in need of help every year and answering an average 200 calls per day. Today, more than ever, we need your support. On the day of the Uber payout announcement we received more than 500 calls -- in a single business day. There have been many days like that since. And yet our Benefits Department that fields most incoming calls remains at just four full-time staff.
Drivers have started a national conversation on the gig economy and pointed to the corrupt architecture that connects technology, politics and corporate interests. The continued mobilization of taxi workers - yellow, Uber/Lyft, greencab and livery drivers - is critical to protecting democratic principles of collective action and rights.
Will you compliment the efforts of drivers to finance and staff a union working to amplify and protect the rights of millions of poor people by making a donation and helping us reach our goal of $50,000?
Every driver who calls is a potential new member who has much to give to the struggle.
Every dollar we collect will be used in our fight for justice, rights, respect and dignity for 100,000 taxi worker families.