The newly formed Montgomery County Professional Drivers Union (MCPDU) will affiliate the National Taxi Workers Alliance ( NTWA ). The group signed a memorandum of understanding Thursday to affiliate by Aug. 10. NTWA President Bhairavi Desai said:
You’ve taken a city where drivers have been invisible and exposed their exploitation. The overwhelming majority of workers in this industry are immigrants, exploited and disenfranchised, told that you have no rights, but that changes now, not just in Montgomery County but throughout this region, which is such a critical place because it’s the capital.
MCPDU President Peter Ibik, wearing his trademark cowboy hat, said:
We have already noticed a big change in how Montgomery [County] taxi drivers are being treated, because of (the AFL-CIO and NTWA) being behind us. We’re going to keep moving forward, we’re not going to stop.
Taxi drivers in Montgomery County are labeled as independent contractors. Because of their independent status, the more than 800 licensed taxi drivers in Montgomery County are not protected by any wage and hour laws or workers' compensation laws and have no health insurance, disability insurance or any form of retirement benefits.