Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Teamster taxi drivers rally for fairness in Washington, DC

Teamster taxi drivers today in Washington, D.C.
Teamster taxi drivers in Washington, D.C., rallied today for a level playing field with private sedan companies like Uber X and Lyft.

More than 60 drivers, members of Teamsters Local 922, chanted outside a downtown building where several city council members were being interviewed by the news media.

Royale Simms, business agent for Local 922, said, “As we began to chant ‘What do we want? Justice!’, Councilmember Mary Cheh walked out of the Council Chambers and had to pass our action. The drivers’ message was heard loud and clear by the councilmembers.”

After a few minutes, the drivers were escorted from the Wilson Building by security, but their objective was met.

“The drivers were excited and the event has already led to phone calls from drivers wanting to be involved with our next action, which we will announce soon,” Simms said.
Not only are private sedan companies eating into regulated drivers' incomes, they are attacking their own workers.

WAMU reported,
The rise of the “ridesharing” service UberX is bleeding traditional taxicabs in Washington. 
Although precise District-wide data is not available, taxicab company managers and individual drivers said their business is down at least 20 percent — and in some cases much more.
According to Jacobin,
Uber drivers in LA, the largest ride-sharing market in the country, held dozens of protests over the summer to oppose rate cuts. Late last month, drivers working with Teamsters Local 986 launched the California App-based Drivers Association (CADA), a sort of Uber drivers union. Uber workers in Seattle have staged their own protests and have formed the Seattle Ride-Share Drivers Association. Just last week in New York City, drivers for the luxury UberBlack service threatened to strike and successfully reversed a company decision that would have forced them to pick up cheaper and less lucrative UberX rides. On Monday, drivers protested again. 
“We want the company to understand that we are not just ants,” Joseph DeWolf, a member of CADA’s leadership council, told me at the Teamsters Union hall in El Monte, California. “What we want is a living wage, an open channel of communication with the company, and basic respect.” DeWolf said CADA is signing up members, collecting dues, and plans to strike in LA if Uber refuses to come to the negotiating table.