On August 3, on the steps of New York City Hall, drivers of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA) launched a campaign to raise wages to a “livable” amount and end what they are calling “unjust firings.” They are seeking $25 per hour in take-home pay, after expenses (such as gasoline). NYTWA has united both taxi and app-based drivers, bridging the divide between “gig economy” workers “formal” workers.

Inflation is devastating many of these workers. Food prices are 9.1% higher than the previous year and landlords have raised rents on average 30% in the past year, as so-called “COVID rent discounts” came to an end – yet wages have stagnated. Drivers of the classic NYC yellow cabs have not seen a raise in 10 years. And app-based drivers are being “deactivated,” or removed from the app without reason, and with little to no right to appeal, the group says.

NYTWA has outlined 24 demands, including their central ones for raising wages and ending unfair deactivations. These include several measures to increase wages for drivers such as capping Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) fines and building driver solidarity by ensuring that Uber and Lyft cannot charge below the yellow/green taxi meter rate.

Coming off the heels of a major victory last summer to massively ease the burden of medallion debt, the NYTWA helped push through a medallion debt forgiveness program. After a two week-long hunger strike and a nearly two month-long protest outside city hall, NYTWA won an agreement with the city in November.

Source: Liberation News