May 2, 2016
By Tara Jessup
New York, NY – In response to numerous requests for assistance from New York area Uber drivers, District 15 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) has announced the formation of the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG), an association to protect and support workers in New York City’s rideshare industry.
“Over the last few months, we’ve been contacted by thousands of Uber drivers seeking higher pay, benefits and respect in their workplace,” said District 15 Assistant Directing Business Representative Jim Conigliaro, Jr. “As the largest union in New York’s black-car industry, we understand the challenges that drivers face in this unique industry.”
Representatives of IAM District 15 have formally notified Uber of their intent to organize New York City’s Uber drivers in accordance with recent settlements in two major class action lawsuits in California and Massachusetts.
“Helping workers, whether they are classified as employees or independent contractors, is the goal of the Machinists and the IDG,” said Conigliaro. “The first step to increased earning ability and job protections for independent contractors is coming together as a group with a unified voice.”
The IAM has been a strong and successful presence in the black car industry for nearly twenty years. The Machinists began their first organizing campaign at Elite Limousine in the late 1990s. The campaign led to a landmark decision that granted the “independent drivers” the right to organize and form unions for the purpose of collective bargaining. As a result, the Union achieved the industry’s first pension and healthcare package offered to black car drivers.
The Machinists were instrumental in the establishment of the New York Black Car Workers’ Compensation Fund. Over the last six years, thousands of UBER drivers have attended various IAM training courses covering Defensive Driving, Stress Management, Bicycle Training and Wellness classes.