Saturday, July 11, 2009
Immigrant Taxi Drivers Form Co-Op in Denver
Denver cab drivers have successfully broken the stranglehold three major taxi companies in Denver had on the market by forming their own worker cooperative, Union Taxi.
Driving a taxi means long hours and high monthly leases to cab companies. In the article Denver Taxi Drivers' Struggle Pays Off , Sudanese driver Yousif explains, "I worked seven days a week, 18 hours a day, no day off. Sometimes I didn't make nothing for myself."
Drivers have to pay anywhere from $1,600 to $2,100 a month to lease a vehicle. Many drivers struggled to earn fares to even break even, forcing them to put in ridiculously long hours. Now in the co-op all drivers put in $700. The drivers will then split profits earned.
The co-op is part of the Communications Workers of America, the union that helped them change a state law which had previously made it near impossible to start its own business.
Union Taxi is an exciting example of workers coming together to run their own business and have a voice in the work they do. It will be a difficult road ahead, to be sure, but it sounds like they are pleased to be working on their own terms in a company based on solidarity instead of filling the coffers of large taxi companies.
Posted by strongwindsahead at 7:37 PM