Thursday, May 26, 2022

Black Car Fund L to R: Jim Conigliaro Jr. of Independent Drivers Guild; Council Transportation Chairman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Washington Heights); Shafqat Khan; Farwah Ameen; and Hadiyah Ameen; TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi; Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D- St. Albans); Ira Goldstein, executive director of the BCF; Diana Clemente of Big Apple Car; Berj Haroutunian, chairman of the BCF. New York, N.Y. — The Black Car Fund (BCF) recently announced a new death benefit for families of member drivers killed on the job. The death benefit, which is guaranteed at $50,000, ensures that families of deceased drivers will not also suffer financially. The BCF made the announcement with the Ameen family after member driver Roohul Ameen was killed last June.

Ameen was a driver for Big Apple Car who was struck and killed while tending to his car on the side of the Long Island Expressway. At the recommendation of Ira Goldstein, executive director of BCF, the fund’s board of directors established the death benefit shortly after Ameen’s passing in order to protect families of member drivers in the event of work related deaths. This new death benefit is in addition to any other death benefit member drivers’ families may have under the workers compensation law.

“The Black Car Fund is fully committed to our drivers," said Goldstein. "While we are heartbroken over the loss of Mr. Ameen, we are pleased to offer this new, guaranteed death benefit to his family and all our members. Driving is high risk work which requires a supportive workforce model.”

Black car drivers are independent contractors who enjoy workers’ compensation and insurance coverage through the BCF, which also pays drivers to attend wellness seminars and safety trainings to meet the highest professional standards, serving as a model in the new “gig economy.”

“The challenges of workers not having any benefits in the emerging gig economy makes today particularly meaningful, and makes me very proud to be a founding member of the BCF that developed a business model that was ahead of its time,” said Diana Clemente, president of Big Apple Car. “I, along with my peers, did it because our drivers are the backbones of our companies, our extended families, and when they suffer, we suffer too. I am honored and grateful that my industry peers saw fit to assist my former driver's family after his tragic accidental work related death.”

Many have praised BCF for introducing the new benefit, including industry representatives, local politicians, and members of Ameen’s family.

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