What’s subsequent for the proposal to determine a wage flooring for app-based for-hire automobile drivers? A panel of labor and taxi specialists together with TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi evaluated the plan and its rapid prospects at TransitCenter Monday evening.
The plan drafted by James Parrott and Michael Reich would require e-hail corporations like Uber and Lyft to compensate drivers at a fee of at the least $17.22 per hour. Along with a 22 p.c increase for the common driver at present incomes lower than that fee, the coverage would act as a brake on visitors will increase attributable to the ride-hailing corporations, lowering the time drivers spend cruising with out a fare.
The TLC, which commissioned the report by Parrott and Reich, can implement the coverage by way of its regulatory powers. It’s primarily as much as Mayor de Blasio whether or not to maneuver ahead. If enacted, the coverage may set a nationwide precedent for the ride-hail business and different “gig economic system” sectors that depend on impartial contractors. However final week, the mayor’s workplace undercut Joshi, calling the endorsement of the report “untimely” and signaling that de Blasio desires to work with the Metropolis Council on laws to enhance driver wages.
Joshi didn’t give a timetable for implementation final evening, however she mentioned she doesn’t anticipate riders to revolt if fares are a bit of greater attributable to a wage flooring. “We added a 30-cent surcharge to taxi rides to assist defray the price of accessible autos,” she mentioned. “And the general public opinion was, ‘Oh if my experience goes up by 30 cents however meaning somebody in a wheelchair is gonna get a experience, I’m advantageous with that.”
Whereas the New York Taxi Employees Alliance opposes the TLC plan as a result of they like to peg driver compensation to a normal meter fee, James Conigliaro of the Impartial Drivers Guild, an affiliate of the Machinists Union that represents for-hire drivers in NYC, mentioned drivers favor the wage flooring.
Conigliaro additionally helps TLC regulation versus a extra unpredictable legislative course of. “Hold the Metropolis Council away from this wage proposal,” he mentioned. “The TLC has the information, they acquire the date, they’ve finished the examine. Let’s let the company go ahead and set the wage commonplace for the business reasonably than attempt to try this through a 50-person laws foundation.”
One concern he raised is a state of affairs the place Uber “chops off the underside 10 p.c of drivers” who don’t hold tempo with the wage flooring by choosing up extra fares, which might be akin to “shedding 10,000 full-time staff in New York Metropolis.”
However in line with Parrott, that’s unlikely. “[App companies] can solely earn a living if their drivers are giving rides,” he mentioned. “So in the event that they diminish the variety of drivers dramatically then their alternative for their very own commissions go down.”
Parrott additionally disputed the competition from the Taxi Employees Alliance that the $17.22/hour wage flooring would double as a ceiling. About 15 p.c of impartial contractors driving for-hire make $17.22 or extra per hour. The plan additionally features a $1 bonus for drivers who tackle shared rides, which was particularly added to stop $17.22 from turning into a ceiling.
“Virtually one-quarter of rides [an app services] are shared,” Parrott mentioned, “and the sense is from wanting on the information is the drivers offering these shared rides are under-compensated for that.”
Uber spokesperson Jason Put up, observing within the crowd, mentioned the corporate is “nonetheless digesting the report” and didn’t take a place on the proposal.
However Terri Gerstein of the Open Society Basis mentioned it’s fully honest to anticipate Uber and its friends to realize the identical minimal compensation commonplace employers throughout the town will quickly be anticipated to fulfill.
“Each mother and pop in New York Metropolis as of December this 12 months goes to be paying $15 an hour in addition to the employer portion of FICA and unemployment and all these different issues,” she mentioned. “If the bodega and grocery store and automotive wash will pay $15 an hour, it appears tough to consider these app-based corporations wouldn’t have the ability to do the identical factor.”