Taxi drivers in Montgomery County, Md., work long hours and make barely above the minimum wage because the companies they work for charge them tens of thousands of dollars in fees each month. Fed up with this situation, these workers have proposed a Passenger and Driver Bill of Rights that would make sure drivers are paid a living wage, that they have basic workplace protections and are able to give their customers the best service possible. And they are working to get the County Council to pass the bill, which also would update the outdated dispatch system to improve service and convenience for riders and regulate companies like Uber.
San Francisco taxi drivers last week voted to form the San Francisco Taxi Workers Alliance (SFTWA) and affiliate with the National Taxi Workers Alliance (NTWA). They are the second group of taxi workers in recent weeks to join with NTWA following the Montgomery County (Md.) Professional Drivers Union’s affiliation.
Labor leaders like AFT President Randi Weingarten, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Emerita Arlene Holt Baker, National Taxi Workers Alliance Executive Director Bhairavi Desai and National Domestic Workers Alliance Director Ai-jen Poo are some of the women Bryce Covert mentions in her article for The Nation, How the Rise of Women in Labor Could Save the Movement.
“My voice is kind of going. I’ve got to get used to this!” says Antonio Elizondo, a 23-year-old Union Summer intern from Los Angeles.
Elizondo is one of about 30 interns who converged on the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C., this week for workshops and classes on activism and union organizing as the start of Union Summer, the AFL-CIO’s national program that introduces interns to the labor movement on union organizing campaigns.
More than 100 striking taxi drivers from Las Vegas traveled to the state Capitol in Carson City, Nev., this week to rally in support of legislation to crack down on the practice of "long-hauling" and to give drivers a voice on the Nevada Taxicab Authority Board. As previously reported, the drivers, who are members of ITPEU/OPEIU Local 4873, have been on strike since May 3 from Yellow-Checker-Star Transportation.
Last Sunday, taxi drivers employed at Yellow-Checker-Star Transportation in Las Vegas authorized a strike, triggered by what they say are the company’s unfair labor practices by refusing to provide the union with information relative to collective bargaining. There are 1,703 drivers in the bargaining unit.
Industrial, Technical and Professional Employees (ITPEU) represents the taxi drivers and is an affiliate of the Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU). Unfair labor practice charges were filed by ITPEU/OPEIU Local 4873 on Friday, March 1.
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.