New School News

Report Co-Authored by Center for New York City Affairs’ James Parrott Leads to Pay Raise for Uber, Lyft Drivers

Uber drivers make about as much money as minimum wage workers. Sometimes, they make even less.

That’s because drivers of ride-hailing apps are considered independent contractors, and, unlike employees, aren’t protected under federal, state, and local minimum wage laws.

That’s about to change, however — thanks in no small part to a report co-authored by James A. Parrott, fiscal policy director the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School and Michael Reich, co-chair of the Center for Wage and Employment Dynamics at the University of California, Berkeley.

The report — which highlights the need for and effects of the Taxi and Limousine’s Commission’s proposed minimum driver pay standard — influenced the New York City Council’s decision to pass a package of bills that, for the first time ever, will set a wage floor for Uber drivers and their peers in the ride-hail industry.

“The data are clear: drivers in NYC’s rapidly growing gig economy are struggling,” Parrott says. “The wage standard will be life-changing for one of NYC’s fastest growing workforces, and a plus to the city’s overall economy.”

In New York City, Uber drivers earned a median net hourly wage of $14.17 and Lyft drivers of $13.85 during a week in October 2017, according to research by Parrott and Reich. Bumping that up to $17.22 would represent an increase of at least 22 percent for half of the city’s Uber drivers, and 24 percent for half of the city’s Lyft drivers.

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