April 4, 2017
By Stephanie West
New York, NY – On March 27th, leadership from Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1181-1061 and drivers for transportation network companies (TNC), such as Uber and Lyft, discussed improving working conditions and a union vote for drivers with Taxi and Limousine (TLC) Commissioner Meera Joshi.
In September 2016, ATU Local 1181-1061 held a rally at TLC headquarters announcing that they had collected over 14,000 signed union cards from drivers for TNC companies who have joined the union. They have now collected over 16,000 signed union cards.
“We met with Commissioner Joshi today and she heard the concerns we have regarding the working conditions faced by drivers working for companies like Uber and Lyft,” said Michael Cordiello, President of ATU Local 1181-1061. “The entry of these companies into the New York City market has had devastating consequences for drivers. These drivers are struggling to make ends meet and lack basic benefits and protections. That is why over 16,000 drivers have signed union cards to join the Amalgamated Transit Union- they’re sick and tired of these horrendous conditions.”
The drivers who work for these companies are constantly exploited and often struggle to make a decent living. TNC companies can unilaterally lower the rate of pay for drivers, “switch drivers off” without due process and oversaturate the market with more and more drivers. As these companies have become increasingly popular in New York City, they have disrupted the yellow cab industry, which had previously provided stable middle-class jobs for drivers.
“We believe that the TLC has the authority and responsibility to regulate Uber, Lyft and other TNC companies to protect the drivers,” Cordiello added. “We are calling on the agency to compel these companies to hold elections that would allow drivers to vote on union representation and choose a better path for themselves and their families. Uber, which was recently valued at close to $70 billion, should not be forcing their drivers to live in poverty.”