October Newsletter – Updates from the Independent Drivers Guild

21 Nov 2023

It’s the Start of Flu Season. The Independent Drivers Guild Has You Covered with Free Flu Shots in all IDG States!

We can never predict just how bad a flu season will be. But according to the CDC, hundreds of thousands of people ended up in the hospital last flu season. None of us wants to lose a week of work due to illness, which is why we need to act now to protect ourselves. 

The Independent Drivers Guild is giving every member a free flu shot voucher, valid through February 28, 2024, and redeemable at every Walgreens and Duane Reade location. 

All IDG members in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Florida, and Drivers Benefits members in New York, will automatically get a free flu shot voucher sent to their email, which can be redeemed at any participating Walgreens or Duane Reade! The voucher will cover the cost of the standard flu shot, and the flu shot formulated for individuals 65+, whether or not you have insurance. 

If you are not a member of the IDG, click the link above to activate your IDG membership and your free flu shot voucher will be emailed to you in just one (1) business day. If you have questions, please call us at 866-471-3603.

New Report Confirms that Rideshare Drivers in Massachusetts Makes LESS than Minimum Wage

This month, our fellow drivers in Massachusetts took dramatic action to demand basic rights and protections. Hundreds rallied inside the State House, calling on lawmakers to pass the Rideshare Driver Justice Bill. This critical legislation would allow drivers to unionize and collectively bargain over pay and benefits.

The protest followed the release of a new report that revealed Massachusetts Uber and Lyft drivers earn well below the state’s minimum wage after accounting for out of pocket expenses. The median driver makes just $12.82 per hour after costs – dollars an hour below the state minimum of $15/hour. As the report shows, most drivers struggle in poverty while rideshare companies rake in billions in profits. Many also face sudden account deactivations without due process. 

Through a union, Massachusetts drivers can win higher pay, job security protections, paid leave, unemployment insurance, and more. We know Uber and Lyft will likely spend millions trying to undermine organizing efforts like they did in California, but we stand unafraid and united in this fight. We urge lawmakers to act now to pass the Rideshare Driver Justice Bill to allow us the freedom to unionize and transform our industry. Empowering drivers through collective bargaining is critical to ending exploitation in this industry.

IDG English as a Second Language and Citizenship Classes Lifting Up Rideshare Drivers across New York City

The Independent Drivers Guild is proud to provide free English classes to New York City rideshare drivers, as News 12 Bronx recently reported in a special feature taking viewers into our classroom! 

Our classes aim to improve drivers’ communication skills and ability to navigate our challenging work. Many drivers in the city speak English as a second language and face challenges understanding passengers and key job information.

Led by professional ESL teachers, IDG’s classes cover everyday English, industry terms, pronunciation, and preparation for the citizenship exam. Books and materials are provided for free. So far, the classes have drawn huge interest, with over 75 students enrolled and waitlists of interested drivers. Participants like Elrefeay Mousa and Hamid Khiresch say the classes are essential to boosting their confidence, customer service, and wages. The IDG expects over 1,000 drivers to benefit from the English lessons this year. This important initiative is empowering drivers. If you or someone you know is interested in our classes, please click here to learn more.

Driver Spotlight: Meet New York IDG Member Julian

Julian Constantin has made his livelihood working for Uber and Lyft for nearly a decade. That all came to a screeching halt when he was unfairly deactivated. “All of a sudden, I couldn’t get online. I was told my account was suspended with no reason, no explanation. I reached out to customer support and asked ‘Why can’t I go online?’ They did not reply to me. Eventually, they told me of a customer complaint.” 

It only got worse from there. “2 hours later, my account was completely deactivated. I tried to reach customer support. But when Uber did not help me, I reached out to IDG. I’ve been with IDG since 2016. I showed up at the first meeting! I liked what they were doing and continued to support them.”

Julian continued to work with IDG and fight his grievance. In the meantime, he used Lyft, but as many drivers know, there is often less business on the platform. Julian says it was difficult to not only deal with the financial burden, but the emotional one as well. “The feeling when you are accused of something you would never do. It was heavy. I’m not that kind of person.” But since July 2023, Julian is back on Uber.

“It’s great to be back to work. I was in shock when they told me I could finally get brought back on, just like the shock I had when I was deactivated in the first place. But Michele and IDG did their magic. It’s a good feeling. It’s definitely much better than when I only had Lyft.”

Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day from the Independent Drivers Guild

On behalf of the Independent Drivers Guild, I want to wish all our members a thoughtful and happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day. This holiday celebrates the vibrant cultures and invaluable contributions of Native peoples across the Americas. It is a time to reflect, honor ancestral struggles, and continue working toward justice and equity for Indigenous communities. Whether you are Navajo, Maya, Inuit, or from any other tribe, your customs and resilience inspire us. The IDG is proud to represent drivers from all backgrounds. As you spend this day with loved ones or in quiet reflection, please accept our respect and honor for your identities and traditions. Let us move forward in unity and use our diverse voices to create positive change.

Get support 

New York Office Hours & Weekly Outreach

IDG’s NYC office is bigger and better than ever! Visit us:

New York Independent Drivers Guild

41-09 36th St #3

Queens, NY 11101

Monday – Friday, 10AM – 4PM

Until further notice, IDG weekly outreach will now be on Wednesdays at LaGuardia Airport only.

Queens Outreach

LaGuardia Airport

23rd Avenue and 90th Street, Queens, NY 11371

Wednesdays from 1PM – 5PM 

New Jersey Office Hours

New Jersey Independent Drivers Guild

110 Fieldcrest Avenue, 3rd Floor

Edison, New Jersey 08837

Thursdays from 10AM to 2PM

Connecticut Office Hours

Connecticut Independent Drivers Guild

157 Church St

New Haven, CT 06510

Wednesdays from 10AM to 6PM

Illinois Office Hours

IL Drivers! Have you visited our office yet? Come in and get support!

Illinois Independent Drivers Guild

114 W Higgins Rd

Park Ridge, IL 60068

Monday – Thursday from 10AM to 4PM

Friday from 10 AM to 2PM

Saturday from 10AM to 2PM

Sunday: Closed

Massachusetts Office Hours

Caffe Nero

1047 Commonwealth Ave

Boston/Allston

Tuesdays from 11AM – 3PM

Boston Logan Airport

Tuesdays from 3:30PM – 5:30PM

Boston Logan Airport

Every other Wednesday from 11:30AM – 1:30PM

Not in CT, IL, MA, NJ, FL or NY? Contact us here to speak with organizers about next steps. Reach out today – let’s organize in your state!

You can now read previous editions of the IDG Member Newsletter here!