NYTWA Statement on Uber Suing to Block Driver Raises
It's a Grinch move to steal Christmas from NYC drivers and their families
(New York, NY) On Friday, December 9, 2022, NYTWA Executive Director Bhairavi Desai released the following statement in response to Uber suing to stop drivers from getting the raises they won from the TLC:
"Just in time to steal Christmas from New York families, Uber is suing to stop the raise the TLC enacted for app drivers after months of public hearings, years of stalled wages, and the pandemic decimating incomes. Uber's Grinch move is on top of denying a fuel surcharge to only NYC drivers when costs skyrocketed due to record high inflation, forcing drivers in one of their most profitable markets to choose between groceries and fueling up.
"Uber is already charging passengers 37% more today compared to 2019 AND KEEPING IT FOR THEMSELVES but says this modest raise for drivers is what will break the company. Shame on you, Dara Khosrowshahi. We call on the City to stand firm and defend the rights of drivers to labor with dignity. Uber seeks chaos. We seek dignity. We are confident we will prevail. "
After months of organizing by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, the Taxi and Limousine Commission voted to give drivers raises. The raise was expected to go into effect before the end of the year. Now, Uber is suing to stop the workers' victory.
For the first time in 10 years, under the TLC rules, the yellow and green cab meter will go up by 23% and the Uber and Lyft driver pay rates will increase by 7% Per Minute and 24% Per Mile. App drivers will see another increase in March 2023 based on inflation comparing December 2022 to September 2022.
Driver earnings across the industry have been devastated by the historic rise in inflation and increased operational costs. In a NYTWA survey during the spring when gas prices and cost of food skyrocketed to record numbers, over 70% of drivers reported not having enough money for next month's groceries.
For Uber and Lyft drivers, the victory comes despite Uber staking public opposition to the raise at the TLC public hearing in October. The drivers say they won round 1, and their eyes are set on $25 per hour take home after expenses.
**** Click here to see videos of driver testimonies at the TLC public comments hearing October 6th, and NYTWA can set up one-on-one interviews with any of the members who testified. ****
Uber and Lyft had also denied New York City drivers a fuel surcharge which both companies paid to drivers voluntarily in all other major cities in the country. Despite taking a larger cut of each fare, Uber opposed the TLC weighing the cost of operational expenses on driver income and opposed the month to month comparison on inflation which initially led the TLC to propose a 34% increase in mileage rates. TLC amended their proposal to compare inflation from 2019 to 6-month average of April - September 2022, lowering the raise on App driver per mile rates to 24%.
Yellow cab and for-hire drivers did not get a cap on the leases companies charge drivers.
Drivers say this is part one of the fight, and their campaign will continue until all drivers are able to take home $25 per hour after expenses, and not left short-changed on the lower-paid trips such as App-dispatched, including trips dispatched to yellow and green cabs for Access-A-Ride, or out of town trips for Uber and Lyft drivers. For now, they are celebrating a hard-fought victory coming despite opposition by the companies and after a long delay.
About the New York Taxi Workers Alliance
Founded in 1998, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA) is the 25,000-member strong union of NYC taxicab drivers, representing yellow cab drivers, green car, and black car drivers, including drivers for Uber and Lyft. We fight for justice, rights, respect and dignity for the over 150,000 licensed men and women who often labor 12 hour shifts with little pay and few protections in the city's mobile sweatshop. Our members come from every community, garage, and neighborhood. To find out more visit NYTWA.org, follow us on twitter.com/nytwa or like us on facebook.com/nytwa.