Protesting mayor’s push to give airport access to Uber without fair regulations, Cab Drivers United members shut down O’Hare, Midway cab stands

CHICAGO – In response to Mayor Emanuel’s proposal to allow services like Uber and Lyft access to the airports without playing by the same rules as licensed cab drivers, members of Cab Drivers United/AFSCME Local 2500 refused to pick up passengers at the cab stands at both O’Hare and Midway airports on Wednesday, bringing cab service to a halt for two hours.

“Uber provides the exact same service as licensed cab drivers, but nothing in the Mayor’s proposal makes them play by the same rules we do,” said Cheryl Miller, a veteran Chicago cab driver and member of Cab Drivers United.

“We go to school to receive our chauffeur’s license, we undergo extensive background checks and drug tests, and our cabs are inspected twice a year by a city-approved garage. Not only does this reassure the public that the person driving them and the car they’re riding in are safe, it ensures the high level of professionalism the public has come to expect. The mayor’s proposal doesn’t include any of these provisions,” Miller said.

“Last week our union released a plan showing how the city could raise $65 million a year just by making Uber follow the rules,” said Godwin Anetekhai, a taxi owner/operator and member of Cab Drivers United. “Our plan would also provide concrete protections for good jobs and public safety. Instead, the mayor would give a sweetheart deal to a $50 billion corporation while hurting Chicago cab drivers who live and work throughout our city.”

“We pay thousands of dollars in fees to stay in compliance each and every year,” Anetekhai said. “The mayor’s proposal would allow Uber to provide the same service I do, but without following the rules. It unfairly penalizes small business owners like me who work hard to build a business and contribute to our city.”

“Last year, drivers formed our union with Cab Drivers United because our voices weren’t being heard by the city,” driver Cheryl Miller said. “We took action today to send a strong message to Mayor Emanuel that our importance cannot be overlooked. We keep Chicago running, and it’s high time we’re treated with the respect we deserve.”