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March 01, 2004

NYC Taxi Workers Win

The New York City Taxi & Limosine Commission just approved a 26% taxi fare increase, no surprise after eight years without a hike.

But the surprise is that 75% of the increase will go to the drivers, not the taxi owners, a great win for organizing by the larger immigrant Taxi Workers Alliance.

Taxi workers lost most organizing power in the late 1960s when big fleets were disbanded, and lost even more when most drivers were turned into "independent contractors", meaning they had to individually lease their vehicles, pay for the gas, and hope to eak out a living at the end of the day.

Wages had dropped to abysmal levels, but the Taxi Workers Alliance began organizing, especially among the south Asian community, to rebuild strength to pressure the city to give a fair deal to the drivers.

The new fares aren't everything the drivers would want, but it looks to deliver an income of $10 per hour on average, which is a tremendous improvement.

Posted by Nathan at March 1, 2004 09:05 AM