With the restructuring
of our dues for 2018, we’re interviewing members who’ve chosen the Leadership
membership-service level to hear what they have to say about their work and
what TLPA does for their companies.
The Black Car Fund is, in Ira
Goldstein’s words, a little bit of an “unusual” type of member.
A nonprofit based in New York City, The Black Car Fund is an
innovative organization that provides workers’ compensation to roughly 150,000
drivers throughout the state. The organization is driven by a model that just
might be the way of the future.
The fund administers safety and health programs, as well as
workers’ compensation benefits to for-hire drivers through a unique surcharge
model. For every ride, a 2.5 percent charge is tacked onto the fare, which is
then remitted to The Black Car Fund for workers’ compensation. The fund gives independent
contractor drivers access to affordable benefits.
Such a business model has taken on new importance, even a
sense of urgency, in the current economic climate. Some experts believe that
within a decade, independent contractors could account for nearly 50 percent of
the American workforce.
But, The Black Car Fund’s work expands well beyond workers’
compensation. The fund also pays its drivers to take enhanced defensive driving
classes and wellness classes. What’s more, the fund recently added a death
benefit for its drivers, so if a driver dies on the job, his or her beneficiaries
could be compensated. Now the fund is exploring new ways to give the drivers
additional health-related benefits.
Goldstein, a long-time member of
the transportation industry, loves the work the fund does.
“I’ve always enjoyed the public service aspect of it,” he
said. “This job allows me to continue that, and a lot of our drivers are a part
of an immigrant population and come from countries where worker’s compensation
doesn’t exist. We do outreach to let them know they have this benefit, and I
get a lot of satisfaction from that.”
And for Goldstein, a leadership-level membership with the
TLPA is an opportunity to help others do the same while benefiting the fund.
always open for any questions, and if anyone is interested in the business
model at The Black Car Fund or any other issues that may arise, my door will
always be open,” he said. “We at the fund think it’s important to be involved
and understand what’s going on, and TLPA allows us to do that. I’m a big believer
in the TLPA.”