Belabored Podcast #166: Raises for Uber and Lyft Drivers, with Bhairavi Desai

Belabored Podcast #166: Raises for Uber and Lyft Drivers, with Bhairavi Desai

Last week, New York established an important new pay floor for app-based drivers. Bhairavi Desai of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance joins us to talk about the victory.

Uber drivers protest the company's fare cuts in front of the car service's New York offices, February 2016 (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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Last week, New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission voted to institute what is likely the country’s first wage standard for app-based drivers at companies like Uber and Lyft. The decision came as a result of organizing by New York’s drivers, and we are joined by one of the people who made it happen, Bhairavi Desai of the New York City Taxi Worker Alliance. She tells us what it will mean in real terms for NYC Uber, Lyft, and other app-based drivers as well as New York’s yellow cab drivers.

We also check in on the teachers at Acero, the site of the first charter school strike in the country with Chris Geovanis of the Chicago Teachers Union, and hear from University of North Carolina instructor Sam Finesurrey about the #StrikeDownSam action against white supremacy on campus. There’s also an update on New York’s nail salon workers, and some news from Buffalo, where Tesla solar panel workers are forming a union. For Argh, we consider what it’ll take to get a Green New Deal, and how racist attacks on immigrants never stop with immigrants

This week’s show was supported by our monthly sustaining members. If you think our work is worth supporting as we soldier on through Trumplandia, please consider becoming a member today. If you’re interested in advertising on the show, please email And as always, if you have any questions, comments, or tips, email us at


Michelle: Is the Nail-Salon Industry Any Better for Workers Now? (The Nation)

Silent Sam Protesters at Chapel Hill Embrace a New Tactic: a ‘Grade Strike’ (Chronicle of Higher Education)

UNC faculty members, in letter to parents, support Silent Sam strike and withholding grades (The News & Observer)

More Tesla Workers Want to Unionize, Despite Elon Musk’s Promises of Free Frozen Yogurt (New York Magazine)

USW and IBEW launching union organizing drive at Tesla’s Buffalo solar factory (Niagara Gazette)

Ending First Charter School Strike in U.S., Teachers Celebrate Tentative Contract Agreement (Governing)


Bhairavi Desai, New York Taxi Workers Alliance

NYC Establishes First Ever Minimum Wage For Uber & Lyft Drivers

Michelle: Can New York Rein In Uber? (The Nation)

Argh, I Wish I’d Written That!

Michelle: Harry Blain, It’s Never ‘Just the Immigrants’ (Foreign Policy in Focus)

Sarah: Eric Levitz, Is a Green New Deal Possible Without a Revolution? (New York Magazine)