Cab Drivers United/AFSCME Members Mobilize For Reforms

Cab Drivers United/AFSCME members are praising the Chicago City Council’s introduction of a resolution today, focused on regulating “transportation network providers” (TNPs, e.g. UberX and Lyft) like the taxi services they are. Also today, dozens of Cab Drivers United/AFSCME Council 31 members made their voices heard inside and outside the Taxi Driver Fairness Ordinance Town Hall meeting.

City Council introduces resolution regulating Transportation Network Providers with majority support

The City Council introduced and sent to the Committee on License and Consumer Protection, the “Resolution Regarding the Regulation of Transportation Network Providers” today with 26 Aldermen signing on in support.

The resolution—sponsored by alderman Pat Dowell—is the result of months of advocacy by Cab Drivers United/AFSCME Council 31 members. Union drivers have been meeting with Chicago Aldermen to discuss the urgent need to regulate TNPs like UberX and Lyft that offer services identical to licensed professional cab drivers yet—despite repeated instances of gross misconduct by UberX drivers—face none of the regulatory oversight.

“Cab drivers in Chicago are ambassadors for the city. The public is confident that when they hail a cab, the driver has the knowledge of the city, the proper insurance and has passed the necessary background checks to get them to their destination safely and efficiently,” Alderman Dowell said. “On the other hand, Transportation Network Providers are providing the same type of service without any of the training or oversight that licensed cab drivers submit to before they can drive. We need to hold TNPs to the same high standards.”

“I’m proud of the work we put in with our union to get to this point,” said Cab Drivers United/AFSCME Council 31 member and veteran Chicago cab driver David Adenekan. “We still have a lot of work to do to level the playing field and regulate TNPs, but today is a great first step toward the fairness and justice that Chicago cab drivers deserve.”

Cab Drivers United/AFSCME members call on city to follow through on promises

Meanwhile, dozens of Cab Drivers United/AFSCME members turned out for a Town Hall meeting to urge the city to implement the provisions of last year’s Taxi Driver Fairness Ordinance.

“In December, the city made public statements promising to reduce the 5% credit card processing fee to 3%, to relieve the burden placed on cab drivers like myself. It’s June, and we still haven’t seen any progress, so we’re here with our union brothers and sisters to ask the Commissioner when we can expect to see these changes,” said Macarl Johnson, a Cab Drivers United/AFSCME member and longtime Chicago cab driver.

Over the last five months, Cab Drivers United/AFSCME Council 31 members have served on the city Task Force to represent the views and interests of the nearly 4,000 drivers who belong to Cab Drivers United/AFSCME Council 31. They have put in hundreds of hours of work to prepare concrete recommendations that the city could adopt immediately to remedy the unequal and unjust way cab drivers are treated in Chicago.

At the town hall meeting, one of those task force members—Cab Drivers United/AFSCME member Michael Agunloye—expressed his frustration over the city’s failure to address public safety issued raised by TNPs.

“We had a Task Force meeting specifically to talk about TNPs, and how they affect our livelihood as well as the safety and wellbeing of Chicago residents and visitors,” Agunloye said. “But in the recommendations released, Commissioner Lapacek seems to have left out those important conversations.  It seems like every week there’s a new story about an UberX or Lyft driver acting in a fashion that would cause a licensed cab driver to lose their public chauffeur’s license, while the City of Chicago turns a blind eye.”