Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cab drivers to protest Daley and city demanding "fare reforms"

WHAT: Cabdrivers gather to demand “fare” reforms, meeting with Daley
WHERE: City Hall, 5th floor (In front of Daley’s office)
WHEN: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 1ST – Cabdrivers Media Statement AT 11:30 AM
ATTN PHOTO EDITORS: ROLLING OUT 40 FOOT CARPET OF PETITIONS – “DALEY, DON’T TREAD ON CABDRIVERS”


For Immediate Release Contact: Prateek Sampat, AFSC – 847-340-1658 (cell)
Facing long hours & low wages, Taxi Drivers threaten strike over “fare” reforms
Drivers submit petitions to City Council for 16% fare increase & demand Mayor Daley meet cabdrivers to negotiate on key reforms in the taxi industry

CHICAGO- With skyrocketing fuel costs, costs of living, and maintenance costs, taxi drivers are demanding a 16% fare increase, amongst other reforms. The cabdrivers will be announcing the possibility of a strike at the press conference, if Mayor Daley refuses to meet over the proposed reforms. They will be also be submitting petitions representing more than a thousand cabdrivers, on Wednesday, initiating a legally-binding process that will lead to hearings at City Hall within 60 days. (MCC 9-112-510(c))

“The taxi industry needs to be reformed from the bottom up- and nobody knows about the taxi business more than the cabdrivers,” says UTCC’s Chair Fayez Khozindar. “If the mayor will not give us the opportunity to be partners, then we will call the strike.”

Drivers say that the current Daley-backed gas surcharge of $1, which has been in effect since May, has done little to provide relief. “It does not sufficiently address our needs- what we face is not just the gas prices- our everyday cost of living is skyrocketing,” says Ron Florence, spokesman of UTCC.

Drivers favor a solution they believe adequately addresses their concerns- a permanent fare increase. Driver group United Taxidrivers Community Council (UTCC) favors a more comprehensive approach to the fare problem. The group calls on a permanent 16% fare increase that would provide some income for the cash-shorted drivers.

“We’re fed up with the working conditions we face which are making us work 12-16 hour days to make the same money we are making 3.5 years ago when we got our last increase,” says Peter Enger, another member of UTCC. It has been documented by UTCC that cabdriver income averages a $5.77 an hour, well below minimum wage, and the average shift is 12 hours and 20 minutes.

Florence insists that the Mayor Daley can stop a potential strike: “The decision maker, here, is the city- the city should provide a seat at the table for the taxi drivers to negotiate about matters affecting their jobs.“

Another key reform drivers are demanding is a biennial (every two years) review of rates of fare, based upon cost of living and cost of driving, and incremental fare increases on the basis of the findings. Other key reforms are a freeze of their lease rates & investigation of illegal leasing practices, restoration of meter & half rates to Skokie, Burbank & Elk Grove Village.
CABDRIVERS AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW
Fayez Khozindar – Chairperson, UTCC – 312-343-5831; Peter Enger – Member, UTCC – 773-550-7921;
Ron Florence – Spokesperson, UTCC – 773-682-0265

WHAT: Cabdrivers gather to demand “fare” reforms, meeting with Daley
WHERE: City Hall, 5th floor (In front of Daley’s office)
WHEN: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 1ST – Cabdrivers Media Statement AT 11:30 AM
ATTN PHOTO EDITORS: ROLLING OUT 40 FOOT CARPET OF PETITIONS – “DALEY, DON’T TREAD ON CABDRIVERS”

1 comment:

Steven Crowell said...

Chicago taxis have partitions, right? They were abandoned in the 80's due to some ambiguity? They seem to be back, right?
Is anyone concerned about federal compliance regarding injuries inflicted, some fatal, when people are smashed into the partition, like the police do... to disruptive rear seat occupants of police cruisers?