The International Association of Machinists (IAM) District 15 and Uber this week announced an agreement through which IAM will represent all current and future for-hire vehicle drivers using Uber in New York City.
Under the five-year agreement, the IAM has formed an affiliate, the Independent Drivers Guild (drivingguild.org), to give the 35,000 drivers using the app a strong voice as well as new protections and benefits.
“For the first time, drivers using Uber are coming together to form a drivers’ guild that will give them a seat at the table with Uber management and critical new protections and benefits,” said IAM District 15 Assistant Directing Business Representative Jim Conigliaro, Jr., who is a founder of the IDG. “Forming this Guild is crucial for thousands of drivers who need a stronger voice and gives organized labor an opportunity to shape the new economy in a way that supports and values workers and their families.”
For twenty years, IAM District 15 has been a leading advocate for drivers in New York City, and to date is the only group to have successfully represented black car drivers. The Uber-IAM agreement will ensure drivers using Uber have a higher standard of protections and support than other independent contractors.
Under the terms of the agreement, drivers will participate in meetings with Uber management on a regular basis, which will give them an additional voice and the ability to discuss the issues that matter most to them. Drivers in New York City will also now have the ability to appeal certain deactivation decisions, in addition to the protections afforded them by Uber’s new national deactivation policy.
This agreement is a result of conversations and negotiations initiated by IAM District 15 in late 2015.
“Congratulations to the Uber Drivers, and welcome to the Machinists family,” said Eastern Territory General Vice President Lynn D. Tucker, Jr. “Their brave, historic step forward could pave the way for thousands of drivers in all walks of life. Thanks go out to DBR Juan Negron, ADBR Jim Conigliaro, Jr., and the District 15 staff that worked tirelessly to assist the Uber drivers in their efforts to achieve better benefits and protections for their families.”
In addition, the Machinists Union and Uber will campaign for a level playing field—with rides on Uber, taxi and private hire being taxed at the same rate for the first time. This would not only mean more money for drivers, it would also free up resources for a new benefits fund administered by the Guild in consultation with drivers, which could include paid time off, a legal defense fund, a disability fund, retirement savings accounts or an immigration assistance fund.