More than 500 independent cab drivers, including those of Indian origin, hold protest in NYC

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Demonstraters at the Dec. 19, 2022 protest on Uber pay raise policy by members of Independent Drivers Guild. Photo: videograb from IDP video provided to Desi Talk

New York City traffic had to slow down during rush hour the morning of December 19, 2022, as Independent Drivers Guild, IDG, drivers, many of whom are of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin,  formed a ‘Caravan’ across the Brooklyn Bridge to protest Uber’s lawsuit blocking driver pay raises on the day they were to take effect.

Ride share drivers in NYC protesting against Uber pay raise deferral Dec. 19, 2022 morning. Photo: videograb from video provided by Independent Drivers Guild

The Independent Drivers Guild has a membership of around 80,000 ride-share drivers in NYC alone, and more than 250,000 in the greater Tristate area.

“Nine out of ten members are immigrants. Many thousands of these members are of South Asian descent,” spokesperson Moira Muntz told Desi Talk. Three of the top five countries-of-origin represented in the membership are South Asian – including Bangladesh, Pakistan and India, Muntz said.

Ride share drivers, members of the Independent Drivers Guild, protesting in NYC Dec. 19, 2022, against Judge upholding Uber lawsuit deferring pay raise. Photo: still from video provided by IDG
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Calling Uber “the Grinch who stole Christmas” New York City Uber drivers lined up on the bridge in frigid temperatures Monday morning to show their opposition to a New York State Supreme Court judge’s new decision to grant Uber’s request to temporarily halt essential pay raises that Uber has sued to roadblock.

The drivers, members of the Independent Drivers Guild, caravanned over the Brooklyn Bridge and into Manhattan to circle the New York Courthouses at 60 Centre Street and Foley Square, where they held a rally on the courthouse steps demanding that Uber pay their raise.  The caravan of cars displayed flags, signs, and posters to show their displeasure.

The IDG, the nation’s largest rideshare advocacy organization and a Machinists Union affiliate, said in a press release that they had fought for years for this pay increase.

Uber sued the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission to  block the driver pay increases, which drivers said were “a necessary adjustment to ensure drivers are paid no less than the equivalent of New York City’s minimum wage after expenses.”

“Uber is the grinch who stole Christmas for tens of thousands of New York City families and today drivers showed up in force to send a clear signal to Uber. We are not going to take this!” the IDG Organizing Director Aziz Bah, is quoted saying in the press release.

One of the protesters at the Dec. 19, 2022 protest of ride-share drivers in NYC on Brooklyn Bridge and Foley Square. Photo Twitter @DriversGuild

“Today drivers showed up in force to send a clear signal to Uber. We are not going to take this!! Uber blocking our raise right before the holidays is a slap in the face. This raise covers what we already deserve to cover our working expenses and inflation,” said Independent Drivers Guild member Malik Anwaar of Pakistani descent who has driven for Uber in New York City for more than 5 years. “By blocking this raise, Uber is advocating to pay drivers less than minimum wage. It’s offensive and wrong.”

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