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Victory for New York Taxi Workers Alliance as Taxi and Limousine Commission vote on minimum pay

Updated: Aug 11, 2021

In what has to be seen as a victory for the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA), the Taxi and Limousine Commission are to vote on a minimum pay standard for Uber drivers.

A spokesperson from the NYTWA said: "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.

“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."

They added: “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."

New York Taxi Workers Alliance, Executive Director, Bhairavi Desai also said on the topic: “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."

Ms Desai finally added: "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."

With New York's taxi, private hire and limousine service still reeling from the tragedy of eight drivers taking their own life in just over a year, there have been some stark problems facing the industry, with the most prevalent problem being drivers forced into poverty.

It is hoped that this will be the first step in pulling New York's taxi industry back from the brink of collapse.

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