Cab Drivers United Members Among Thousands ‘Fighting for 15’

Chicago taxicab drivers were among thousands of underpaid workers marching through the streets here April 15 making the case for raising the minimum wage to $15 – in Chicago and in 230 cities across the country. As members of Cab Drivers United/AFSCME Council 31 took their places among the protesters, solidarity was very much on their minds.

“Our struggle as cab drivers is no different than the struggle facing a low-wage worker at a fast food chain, or a janitor working late into the night to provide for their family, arriving home while their family is sound asleep, and leaving before they wake up,” said cab driver David Adenekan. “Workers across the spectrum and from coast to coast are standing united today, to stand up and demand a living wage.”

Protesting in major cities and in small towns across the nation, workers marching under the “Fight for 15” banner on Tax Day, made the case not only for raises that would help them feed their families, but also for a society that works to alleviate income inequality, a major political issue in the country today. Recent research shows that raising the minimum wage would benefit everyone.

Members of Cab Drivers United/AFSCME Council 31, earning less than minimum wage because of their expenses, now face a major new challenge that undermines their ability to earn a living wage, said Adenekan.

“With so-called ‘rideshare’ operators arriving by the thousands without any of the safety standards, regulations or costs we face just to operate, drivers are working longer and longer hours just to pay our overhead, and feed our families,” he said.

“Driving a cab used to be a way to a good middle-class life,” Adenekan continued. “We are ambassadors for the city, but like so many other workers we aren’t treated with the respect we deserve. We’re stuck between the City of Chicago squeezing every penny they can out of us, and billion-dollar companies that came in through the backdoor.

“We’re struggling, and we’re here to make our voices heard loud and clear,” he said.