100 signatures reached
To: Mayor William D. Euille
Let Taxi Drivers Choose Their Employer
Taxi workers in Alexandria face high weekly stand dues in order to drive their cabs with a specific company. We pay $200 a week at Yellow Cab as cab owners, and renters pay $300+ a week! We work long hours, in my case 78 hours a week, all without overtime. Because we have no right to move companies if we dislike our working conditions, we have two options: Stay with our companies and continue to suffer, or quit our jobs as cab drivers. We demand that Mayor Euille allow us the freedom to leave abusive, unfair cab companies. The right to transfer companies will put us on the road to pay lower dues each week, work fewer hours and finally spend time with our families and friends.
Why is this important?
Dear Mayor Euille,
My name is Eyob Abay. I am an Ethiopian immigrant, but I have been living and working in Northern Virginia since 1988. I have been driving an Alexandria cab for Yellow Cab Company for six years. I am proud to serve my fellow Alexandria citizens in their transportation needs.
Unfortunately, I work long hours to pay my high weekly dispatch dues and have money left over for me and my family. Each evening after work ends at 1pm, I go home, go to bed, and the next morning at 2am I wake up to do it all over again. My wife complains that I don't have time for my family and my kids are not getting the support they need from me. They don't need money, they need time with their father.
I've been robbed multiple times, often by the same woman. If I were to refuse to pick her up, Yellow Cab would suspend me from work; every day missed from work is a day I can't make money to pay my weekly company dues and support my family, so suspension is not an option for me. People have run away from my cab without paying me, and my bosses do not care, not even enough lower my dues for that week.
As hard as my work has been for me, I cannot change companies if I am not happy at Yellow Cab. My coworkers at different companies in Alexandria face the same struggle. We can only stay where we are, forcing us to accept whatever working conditions cab companies pass down to us. We cab drivers do all the work to make money for our respective companies, and yet we do not benefit--the companies do! I'm not saying the companies should not be paid, but it should be reasonable.
My story is just one of nearly 800 in Alexandria. One of my coworkers, who has asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation from his boss, is a single father of a four-year-old daughter. He undergoes dialysis three days a week to combat his kidney failure. He takes care of all this while working long hours, facing the apathy and lack of respect of his management. Even worse, as "independent contractors," we don't receive any health benefits or benefits of any kind!
Another of my coworkers once was robbed at gun point in his cab. The thief stole his entire week's wages, but he still had to pay his company dues. Yellow didn't ask how he felt or if he needed medical attention. In fact, apart from asking for their portion of his stolen earnings, they did not respond to the event at all.
But Yellow Cab Company is not the sole culprit. As long as the law is on their side, all the cab companies in Alexandria can and will continue to exploit taxi workers in this great city. I urge you, on all of our behalf, to grant us freedom of movement to provide us cab drivers with the basic rights and security to serve our families, communities and city safely and fairly.