Independent Drivers Guild
The Independent Drivers Guild is the largest rideshare driver organization in the nation. We are a driver-led and driver-powered advocacy group fighting for the rights of drivers across the country. Our primary mission is to unite drivers in the fight for the right to collective bargaining, which is the only way to stop driver exploitation by giving drivers the power to negotiate equitable work conditions for themselves. We are Uber, Lyft, and Via workers united for a fair industry.
From fair wages to affordable benefits to deactivation recourse, we have been leading and winning fights for drivers–and putting billions back into drivers’ pockets–thanks to our engaged community of members and activists. We believe that all workers deserve a fair and equitable workplace and we are committed to ensuring that independent drivers receive the support and benefits they deserve.
Through organizing, the New Jersey Drivers Guild has won valuable new benefits for drivers. Notably, we have secured free telemedicine for drivers, allowing drivers to access doctors at their convenience, free of charge, via phone or video chat, 24 hours per day, seven days per week. We have also won mental health benefits for New Jersey drivers as part of our pioneering Driver Wellness Program. Drivers also have access to affordable dental care and discounted prescription drugs. Crucially, we also offer members free and affordable legal services to help to fight unfair tickets and representation to fight unfair deactivations and accident support.
Through advocacy, direct actions (including the largest U.S. gig worker protest to date), perseverance and hard work, the IDG has achieved landmark victories for rideshare drivers:
- Tipping Option: When Uber entered the market, they believed that drivers did not deserve to be tipped and refused to even make tipping an option in the app. IDG fought to make it not only optional but mandatory for every rideshare company operating in New York City to offer a tipping option.
- $27.86/hr minimum wage: Prior to our advocacy work, drivers were drastically underpaid and their wages fluctuated in accordance with app companies’ cuts. We waged an advocacy campaign for fair pay on behalf of drivers and secured a first in the world minimum wage for drivers. Now, drivers can rely on a steady income, knowing that it won’t be subject to random cuts from executives.
- Deactivation Appeals: Before the IDG, drivers had no recourse if they were kicked off the apps. There was no way for them to communicate with management or appeal their deactivation. There was no due process. Now, thanks to our advocacy work, New York City Uber and Lyft drivers have the strongest appeal process in the country.
- New Benefits: We spent years advocating to secure more benefits for New York State drivers through The Black Car Fund, including free vision and dental benefits, a death benefit for the families of drivers killed on the road, and free access to a doctor via telemedicine, 24 hours per day, seven days per week. There are also discounts on prescriptions, diagnostic imaging, and urgent care.
- Drivers’ seat at the table: n order to win better pay and improve working conditions for drivers, we need to take on billion-dollar ride-hail companies who will always prioritize their own bottom line. It’s a huge challenge and one that we can only win by working together. Thanks to your support, drivers now have a seat at the table to advocate for better working conditions.
- Bathrooms: Prior to IDG, drivers at the various airport lots had no access to bathrooms, posing a massive public health hazard. Now, drivers have access to fully equipped and functional bathrooms with running water at all NYC area airport waiting lots.
- Pandemic Safety: When the pandemic hit, we immediately petitioned the apps for financial relief for drivers who became sick or who were at high risk for COVID-19. We assisted drivers in applying for aid and for other financial assistance. We also successfully advocated for a ban on pooled rides and for New York City to hire drivers who wished to work in food delivery.
- PPE: In the midst of the Pandemic, while PPE was still scarce and many larger institutions were unable to secure necessary protective equipment, IDG, in partnership with the Black Car Fund, managed to secure and distribute over 20,000 PPE kits to drivers, including FHV, livery, and taxi workers. These kits allowed drivers to continue working and taking first responders to where they needed to go.
- Relief Stands: For years, drivers were deprived of a safe space to park, get out of their cars, and stretch without getting a ticket. IDG advocated for and won FHV Relief Stands, designated areas where drivers can legally park and stretch, in the outer boroughs, with more cropping up in Manhattan’s central business district.
- Wellness: The stress and anxiety associated with driving are undeniable. That’s why we launched the nation’s first wellness program designed with and for professional drivers. Through the program, drivers gain access to a team of licensed therapists who provide free group, individual, and family counseling in several languages.
- Education: For drivers that are deactivated for low ratings, the IDG provides a free class that helps drivers improve their skills and get their jobs back. In partnership with the BCF, New York drivers can take a free DDC class and get paid $300 to do it.
- IDG Legal: Our members are able to access discounted legal assistance for tickets and other driver-related issues. We’ve also convened legal experts for driver webinars on unemployment programs and loans during the pandemic.