You can read 19 more articles this month
NEW YORK taxi drivers’ union officials accused Uber of slapping workers in the face today after the company proposed adding an additional fee to already struggling cabbies.
Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi came under fire from the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA) after calling for the company’s drivers to contribute to a so-called “hardship fund” for yellow cab owner-drivers.
The union branded his recent visit to New York a “damage limitation” exercise for the company after a spate of suicides among taxi drivers.
NYTWA spokesman Bhairavi Desai said the company’s business model “has destroyed the lives and livelihoods of drivers across the industry, including green cab, yellow taxi, black car, livery, and app-dispatched drivers themselves.”
Mr Khosrowshahi is also lobbying for further deregulation in New York to push down fares across the industry to allow for “surge pricing” — which sees the cost of a ride increase in relation to demand.
The union — which represents 19,000 drivers in New York — explained they receive phone calls from members in the middle of the night needing referrals to homeless services and suicide prevention resources due to extreme levels of poverty.
"Uber has gone five years unregulated. And now there have been five tragic suicides of drivers facing financial ruin — two Bronx livery drivers, one black car driver and two yellow cab owner-drivers," Ms Desai warned.
Taxi driver Douglas Schifter shot himself in front of City Hall in February after posting a note on Facebook saying that the city's failure to regulate Uber had “destroyed his livelihood.”
The union says the deaths reveal the dark side of the gig economy and it is calling for tighter regulation of the app-based companies that have flooded the streets of New York with 130,000 vehicles while yellow cabs are capped by the authorities at 13,650.
Ms Desai branded the move by the Uber boss a “slap in the face” for drivers in a bid to avoid tougher regulation.
“We don't expect Uber or any corporation to have the moral authority on this issue, nor do they have expertise on sound policy.
“You don't ask the bull how to piece the china back together. Drivers have known what's broken all along and sent the warnings.
“This time, the city should listen,” she warned.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.