CONGRATULATIONS! Today is a victory for drivers as contract negotiations proposed by Interim Mayor Gloria have been tabled until January 16th! Councilwoman Marti Emerald proposed the items be tabled with a second by Councilwoman Myrtle Cole. She will now work to remove contract language that states MTS’s refusal to pass any real policies that would make a difference in the lives of taxi drivers and the safety of the public. Hopefully when the MTS board meets again the contract language will be gone and the contract will be extended for another year while they City finds and hires the taxi consultant they have already allocated money in the budget for.
In February of 2013, former Mayor Bob Filner requested an exploration of transferring administrative and regulatory responsibilities to the City of San Diego after hearing serious concerns brought by taxi workers. These issues are highlighted in a study conducted by researchers from San Diego State University (SDSU) and the Center on Policy Initiatives (CPI) called Driven to Despair which revealed taxi drivers, who are considered independent contractors, are working dangerously long 12-16 hour shifts, earning poverty wage of $4.45 an hour after tips and are being retaliated against for speaking out about their working conditions and safety concerns. The decision to transfer administration also came after MTS’s refusal to regulate the relationship between taxi lease drivers and taxi permit holders including contract language that continues to preclude MTS from regulating the very real concerns of retaliation and dangerous working conditions of taxi workers (view contact language here) including:
- Investigating allegations of retaliation
- Regulating working hours of taxi lease drivers
- Regulating earnings of taxi lease drivers
The City Council additionally approved $100,000 in the City budget to hire a taxi consultant to explore transferring administration to the City and studying our local taxi industry as well as other major city run taxi agencies including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Chicago, New York, Boston and many others who have not only instituted fair labor practices for taxi workers and improved taxi services but have also created revenue opportunities. This taxi consultant voted on by a majority of the Council was never hired and therefore an exploration of bringing the taxi industry in house was never explored by a professional consultant.
We believe San Diego deserves better. Please join us on Thursday, January 16th to fight for comprehensive taxi reform!