Uber Drivers Demand An In-App Tipping Option

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A group of Uber drivers in New York City is campaigning the app to add a tipping option, insisting that Uber's refusal to include such a feature is the primary grievance among their 35,000 members. The news comes several months after Uber, which was recently valued at $62.5 billion, slashed its NYC trip fares by 15%.

"Many passengers are unaware that tipping Uber drivers is permitted or expected," said Uber driver Ronny Paulino in a statement. "Tipping makes a huge difference for drivers. When I drove for a service that allowed in-app tipping, those tips were enough to pay my family's grocery bill for the week."

To get the word out, Uber drivers will start posting stickers in their cars that read, "Tips for service are appreciated!" A social media campaign and pro-tipping petition are expected later in the summer.

Uber, meanwhile, is showing no signs of budging. "On Uber, tips are not included, nor are they expected or required," stated a spokeswoman for the app on Monday. "Riders tell us that one of the things they like most about Uber is that it’s hassle-free. Riders are free to offer tips and drivers are welcome to accept them, as has always been our policy."

The drivers' push for a tipping option is spearheaded by the newly-formed Independent Drivers Guild (IDG), an association of NYC Uber drivers that, unlike a traditional union, does not give its members the right to collectively bargain for a contract. Uber formally recognized the IDG in May, promising to meet with its leadership once a month.

Because Uber drivers in New York City and across the country are classified as independent contractors rather than employees, the startup has no legal obligation to bargain.
 
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