By Joseph A. Slobodzian
Inquirer Staff Writer
Leaders of Philadelphia's striking taxi drivers ended their 48-hour strike a day early yesterday but promised to continue fighting problematic new high-tech dispatch and credit card systems mandated by the Philadelphia Parking Authority.
Leaders of the drivers and Parking Authority officials disagreed about how many cabbies stayed off the streets and about the strike's effectiveness. But officials of the authority, which since 2005 has regulated city cabs, said there was no shortage of taxis yesterday at Philadelphia International Airport and only brief rush-hour delays at Amtrak's 30th Street Station.
All 1,200 members of the Taxi Workers Alliance will be back at 6 a.m. today, alliance president Ronald Blount announced yesterday during an afternoon rally in front of Parking Authority headquarters at 3101 Market St.
"We've made our point. We've proved that we can launch a two-day strike," Blount told reporters in front of about 25 supporters. "This system is not working. It's been almost a year now. How long are we supposed to be patient?"
Submitted by BradyDale on Mon, 08/27/2007 - 1:12pm.
Public Authorities continue to be one of the best means for taking control out of the hands of voters and putting it in the hands of bureaucrats two or three or four steps removed from anyone elected. I've written about the Taxi Drivers in this space several times now, but now Philly Independent Media Center has a great new video coming out a week or so in advance of a two day taxi strike.
Check the video out here.
I'm really glad IMC is paying attention to this issue. It's a fascinating case. It's one that I'd think the Nutter Butters would be going NUTS over. Closed door decisionmaking. Gouging a group of workers and the public. Capricious rulemaking. Lack of access to decisionmakers and no voter oversite. Everything that should be making them crazy mad. I hope they do pick up on it and take action. It really sucks that nobody is in control of the Parking Authority any more and that it has control of Taxis (isn't that ironic? Taxis hardly ever park, you know?).
As an Organizer, I find it exciting because this is a very diverse group of people who are hardscrabble and refuse to be victimized. If they have even close to the participation in their strike that they anticipate in the video, it's a real coup. A beautiful show of worker solidarity. It's so great to see these guys excited to take action, and any time I've sat down with them they really have been.
Now if the taxi cab drivers could just drive a little nicer...