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NEW YORK – On July 22, 2022, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul signed a law protecting health benefits for the more than 100,000 rideshare and black car drivers serving New York State. The Independent Drivers Guild advocated for the legislation to protect the Black Car Fund Drivers Benefits program, which provides health benefits like telemedicine coverage, vision coverage, dental insurance, mental health counseling, and prescription and urgent care discounts. The law extends this critical program for an additional three years.
New York’s first-in-the-nation program provides a critical safety net to rideshare and black car drivers who typically lack paid benefits. More than twenty years ago, the Machinists Union advocated to create the Black Car Fund Drivers Benefits program with a workers’ compensation fund for New York’s for-hire vehicle drivers. Over the last six years, the Independent Drivers Guild (a Machinists Union affiliate representing New York’s rideshare drivers) successfully advocated for and won a series of new protections and benefits through the program, which is funded by a surcharge added to the passenger’s fare.
“With this program, New York leads the nation in delivering historic benefits to some of our most vulnerable workers,” said IDG Executive Director Brendan Sexton. “Between the devastating pandemic and the squeeze of sky high gas prices and expenses, it has been difficult for New York’s professional drivers to make ends meet. The Black Car Fund Drivers Benefits program provides a desperately needed safety net for New York’s 100,000 drivers and their families. We want to thank Governor Hochul, Senator Savino and Assemblywoman Cruz for standing with the hardworking drivers who keep New York moving.”
“Now, with a touch of their phone, drivers can connect with a doctor to get the care they need, which was a critical protection during the pandemic. All drivers now get free eye exams and glasses, another pivotal program that keeps all New Yorkers safer,” added Sexton.
The pandemic underscored the necessity of these health benefits and prortections. Drivers were able to stay healthy and financially afloat despite working on the front lines, with access to masks, test kits, hand sanitizer and gloves funded by this program, as well as free telemedicine, mental wellness services and safety trainings. Nine in ten for-hire vehicle drivers in New York are first generation Americans and more than 100,000 New York families depend on rideshare for their household income.
The Independent Drivers Guild is the nation’s largest rideshare driver advocacy group which represents and advocates for more than 250,000 app-based drivers, including more than 100,000 in New York alone. We are Uber and Lyft drivers united for a more fair industry.