Drivers in NYC have a long history of fighting for their rights and winning better pay and working conditions. At the end of 2022, drivers were awarded a significant raise that was to be effective December 19th. But right before Christmas, Uber sued the city to keep from having to pay drivers the awarded money claiming it would be a financial hardship and that drivers had already received a raise–and it would damage Uber’s reputation with riders due to an increase in fares to cover the increase in pay.
People were shocked when the judge granted a freeze on the pay increase for rideshare drivers (taxi drivers still received their increases on December 19 as awarded). But through constant actions including three strikes since December, and the support and solidarity of NYC taxi drivers, Uber & Lyft drivers won! In March 2023, companies were ordered by the court to honor the raises.
Now, rideshare drivers in NYC have a wage floor of $25/hour (that includes wait time) and additional pay to cover the expense of operating a vehicle!
NYC drivers - both taxi and app drivers - have built a powerful union. By becoming members of the powerful NY Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA), drivers have won good regulation in NYC through unity and militant action. This was possible because taxi drivers and rideshare drivers put their frustrations aside in 2017 and really listened to each other. They realized they had similar goals and voted to be part of ONE UNION to fight together and win together.
Many will remember that in 2021 taxi drivers fought to save their lives from the enormous debt they carried with inflated prices of taxi medallions (a mandatory “license” to drive in NYC). They fought relentlessly with constant action, constant trips to city hall, strikes, and bridge blocking. Not getting the debt relief they sought, the taxi drivers staged a hunger strike for 15 days.
Their persistence won them a huge reduction of their debts from over $600K to no more than $170K. Rideshare drivers were there in solidarity every step of the way. cake
This year Lyft and Uber drivers took action as their pay had shrunk with inflation and gas prices. When the city decided to take action on their behalf, the companies fought back and sued to prevent a 10% wage increase from going into effect. So drivers took more action with three Lyft/Uber strikes starting in December. In March 2023, they won their increase.
Taxi drivers were there in solidarity every step of the way.
This Spectrum News/NY1 link tells the story of NY drivers' fight really well. To see the footage, or read the article, click here.
In NYC, drivers have preserved their rights to full protection under state labor laws while fighting for strong regulation to protect their wages.
Great job, NYC Drivers!
Keep up the great work!