On Tuesday, October 18th, 2016 on the steps of City Hall at 10:00 AM, a new New York City workforce will be launching its movement. The New York Messengers Alliance, a grass-roots labor organization led by veteran and new bike messengers and walkers, will announce its formation and the launch of a Worker Safety Campaign, calling on companies from Uber to Postmates to pay for safety equipment and provide Workers Compensation for injured workers. After long shifts, in between drop offs and during rare time off, NYMA leaders have been regularly meeting, strategizing, organizing their brothers and sisters to be the voice for 10,000 workers who labor in the streets in the country’s biggest courier market. We are so deeply honored to announce that the NYMA leaders decided to affiliate with the National Taxi Workers Alliance. We have witnessed something truly beautiful and awe-inspiring. And on 18th October morning, the sun will dawn a new movement.
Almost all of the NYMA leaders are UberRUSH messengers.
Uber messengers are treated the same as Uber drivers: misclassified as independent contractors, subject to poverty rates, constant wage cuts, firings, long hours, no paid time off, with the added fight of proving employee status when challenging the exploitation. Messengers misclassified as independent contractors also receive no Workers Compensation. No coverage for medical bills. No paid time off to recover from injury or illness.
It’s stunning how the conditions mirror each other – both for the Uber messengers and drivers and the overall messenger and driver workforces in a historic struggle to protect their full-time jobs and stop the race to the bottom, battling a Wall Street darling valuated at over $60 billion. Like drivers, messengers – also mostly people of color and immigrants – are at a historic juncture. And with the New York Messengers Alliance, they choose to organize and fight and challenge an exploitative business model, not concede to its makers.
As organizers, we see the power and grace in the working class and the poor every day. We see the courage of the oppressed to speak truth to power and the genius of organized workers bending the will of Wall Street with little resources on their side and against well-oiled opposition. To see a new workforce find its collective voice, its vision, its shared principles and militancy has been nothing short of magical.
As NYMA builds up to the first Messengers general assembly, we would love to have your solidarity message. We hope you will consider sending us a letter or an email that NYMA can share with the messengers and post online.
You can send an organizational message or one as an individual, or as a family.
I should also tell you that we had an amazing victory last week when two NYTWA members became the first Uber drivers to be determined to be employees by the NYS Department of Labor, with one of them, Jakir Hossain, being the first Uber driver to receive their actual Unemployment benefit.
Read more about the first worker victory against Uber misclassification!
Stay tuned brothers and sisters, as NYTWA and NYMA organize Uber Workers Rising, a campaign of Uber Drivers and Messengers, in solidarity with ALL drivers and messengers, to challenge Uber’s business model of part-time-only, poverty wages work cemented by misclassification. Much more to come!
Today, we celebrate tomorrow and all the tomorrows to come henceforth.
History in the making.
Power to the New York Messengers Alliance! Hasta La Victoria Siempre!