Cab Driver Advocates Successfully Defend Fellow Drivers

Piloting a new program based on AFSCME Council 31’s steward training last springCab Drivers United/AFSCME’s “Driver Advocate” program has produced results for Chicago cab drivers. More than half of the tickets have been dismissed outright because of the union’s efforts.

“When I first got the ticket, I felt so bad,” said Taiwo Iyiola, a new member of Cab Drivers United/AFSCME. “I immediately called Cab Drivers United, and I showed them the ticket, and they told me not to worry, they are going to go with me to 400 West Superior,” where the drivers must navigate a cumbersome court system after receiving a ticket.  

Many cab drivers call 400 West Superior a “kangaroo court” because of confusing rules and regulations, on top of coercive prosecutors that pressure drivers to settle without a hearing, regardless of guilt or wrongdoing.

Iyiola said that Cab Drivers United/AFSCME “came inside with me, and at the end of the day, the judge told me he is going to dismiss the case, which he did. I was so impressed that the Cab Drivers United/AFSCME were able to fight for me.”

Besides tickets dismissed outright, others were amended so that fines were reduced, thanks to AFSCME’s Driver Advocate program.

“When the police give you the ticket, you just pay what you are supposed to pay,” added Iyiola.  “But when you are in the union, when you have any problem, go straight to the union. The union will tell you, ‘This is what you are supposed to do, this is not what you are supposed to do.'"