After 45 years of driving a cab in New York City, Beresford Simmons says the emergence of the National Taxi Workers Alliance in the past few years is helping his family and those of other drivers reach the middle class.
The Labor Innovation Fund for the Twenty-First Century, aka LIFT, a collaborative project of the AFL-CIO with the Ford Foundation, the Solidago Foundation and the New World Foundation, was recently highlighted by the Berger-Marks Foundation. LIFT gives grants to partnership projects, “conversations around common agendas," and other efforts to link the union movement with community organizing focused on workers’ rights, decent jobs and a fair economy.
In Brooklyn, N.Y., yesterday family members, taxi drivers and elected officials held a prayer vigil outside Kings County Hospital for taxi driver Key Chun Kim, 53, who remains in a coma after suffering a brutal assault by a passenger on New Year’s Day. Taxi drivers are 30 times more likely to be killed on the job than other workers, says New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA) Executive Director Bhairavi Desai.
In some year-end reviews of labor in 2012 (here and here), we see an important missed connection that the union movement is committed to building in 2013. While these reviews identify important worker struggles throughout the year, they fail to recognize that all workers—immigrant, public, private, low-wage and middle-class—share values and experiences that unite them in a broad-based union movement. A major theme of many of last year’s important labor struggles was how immigrant workers and the union movement came together in local communities to win justice.
The next time you take a cab, take a moment to think about the person driving the car. Taxi drivers typically do not have the same benefits as workers in other professions. But the National Taxi Workers Alliance (NTWA) is working to change that.
NTWA in New York City is the largest taxi driver union in the United States working to ensure that its members can make a living wage. This summer, Sahar Khan, one of the nine New York Union Summer interns, is learning about NTWA's innovative strategies to grow the union's membership.
Lorena Gonzalez is the secretary-treasurer of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council. Gonzalez and Mikaiil Hussein, president of the United Taxi Workers of San Diego, also issued a statement together upon the affiliation of the independent taxi workers with the labor council. You can read that statement here.
At the Labor Council, our mission is to create more jobs, better jobs and better lives for all of San Diego's workers—union and nonunion. For years, we have proudly worked on policies that bring up the standard for our entire community; things like a living wage ordinance, paid family leave, worker retention policies and health care access for working families.
In a historic move, the AFL-CIO today signed new, separate partnership agreements with the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the National Guestworkers’ Alliance. The landmark agreements outline a framework for the groups to partner around issues of organizing, winning rights for excluded workers and building long-term relationships. The new partnership agreements kicked off the three-day Excluded Workers Congress in New York City.