Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hundreds of Teamster taxi drivers rally for freedom in DC

Teamster-affiliated taxi drivers jam the lobby of the Washington, D.C., cab commission today.
Hundreds of Teamster-affiliated taxi drivers in Washington, D.C., showed up today at the monthly meeting of the local taxicab commission today to protest the unfair towing and ticketing of cabs. The drivers, who are independent, want freedom from onerous and unfair regulation, and they are demanding a voice in the regulatory process.

The drivers just recently formed the Washington, D.C. Taxi Operators Association, which is affiliated with Teamsters Local 922. They quickly found their voice. Last week, they filed a lawsuit to stop the regulations and elicited an apology from the mayor's spokesman for saying Washington has a 'third-world taxi system.'

Jesse Black, a 40-year D.C. taxi driver, said:
The city is hell-bent on destroying our livelihoods at any cost. This is an honorable profession that has a proud history in the District of Columbia of giving African Americans and immigrants the ability to provide for their families. It’s shameful that the city wants to kill off our good, middle-class jobs.
Said driver Kolawole Akinadewo:
All over the city drivers are having their vehicles towed and impounded without due process. It is outrageous that rather than working with drivers to educate them and give them more time, inspectors are destroying the livelihoods of families who already struggle every day to make ends meet. 
During today's meeting the drivers are speaking out against proposed regulations that would force hundreds of drivers off the streets by restricting older-model vehicles. Ferline Buie, president of Teamsters Local 922, said,
Drivers are fed up with not having a say in the rules and regulations that affect their lives every day. Now we confront a new issue – the new vehicle age policy. This is yet another example where drivers have been left out of the process.
Drivers work long days—often up to 16 hours, seven days a week—and earn about $25,000 to $30,000 per year providing a valuable service. The unfair towing and ticketing has severely hurt them and their families.

Read their whole statement here: