NYC may force Uber to allow tips
Uber's partnership with the Machinists Union, in which a sub-group known as the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) has been formed, came in response to mounting pressure to allow Uber drivers to unionise.
Uber's refusal to launch an in-app tip option led the guild to launch a campaign past year with vehicle stickers and social media posts to let passengers know that they can tip and that gratuity is not included in their fare. Drivers for Uber have been agitating for years for the addition of a tipping option in the app, something rival Lyft.
New York City taxis and Lyft already offer tipping via credit card, but Uber now does not. Uber is unique among ride-hailing companies in its total disdain for in-app tipping.
The TLC's action on tipping rules comes after the commission held its biannual hearing on for-hire driver earnings earlier this month.
Reacting to the call for protest, Uber said in a statement that this time, the drivers can not obstruct others who are willing to come on duty.
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Conigliaro praised the proposed rule as "a vitally important step forward for drivers", citing the lack of protections for drivers such as paid sick leave and minimum wage rules. This time, the Ola and Uber drivers have found support from other unions too.
"New York City's professional drivers have traditionally depended on gratuities for a substantial portion of their income", Conigliaro, a machinists union official, said.
Any tipping proposal faces a protracted process before it becomes a rule Uber must follow.
"At an nearly six-hour hearing on April 6, the TLC heard testimony about a decline in earnings due to fares being paid by passengers going down, increases in commission and high vehicle costs as well as confusion due to discrepancies between the passenger fare and the fare that the driver's pay comes out of", the commission said. Worker advocates continue to push for policies that would require Uber to treat its drivers as employees, rather than independent contractors.
"This rule proposal will be an important first step to improve earning potential in the for-hire vehicle industry", Meera Joshi, the taxi commissioner, said in a statement today. Some 41% of respondents say close proximity to the server/cashier while entering a tip amount would make them more likely to tip, the 2015 Software Advice study found. The IDG represents Uber drivers in the NYC and wields significant clout in the community.
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