Mikaiil Hussein emigrated from Somalia in 1993 and received an education in computer science in California. He was a taxi driver during the strike in December 2009 and served as the chief negotiator for lower weekly leases paid by the taxi drivers to their leaseholders. As a result of his unwillingness to remain silent in the face of poverty wages, health problems and abusive working conditions, Mikaiil was fired for speaking out at a city council meeting and has been helping to protect and advance the rights of taxi drivers here in San Diego ever since.
After years of outreach to community organizations, building support among drivers and attending city board meeting Mikaiil and the United Taxi Drivers of San Diego have helped to lead the charge to change the makeup of the Taxi Advisory Committee to include equal representation of drivers and permit holders and to bring working conditions of taxi drivers to the forefront of public debate around taxi reform. Mikaiil and United Taxi Workers of San Diego (UTWSD) won a huge grassroots victory November 10, 2014 “Lifting the Cap on Taxi Permits” has changed the entirety of the Taxi industry. This victory will benefit more than 2000 drivers and their families. Mikaiil has a different hat in our community like City Height Town Council, Co- found Somali Community Council, and City Height Community Council AD-Hoc, Workers Center AFL-CIO Advisory Board in DC, and San Diego- Imperial Counties Labor Council Executive Director. Through this Mikaiil has been able to show others the importance of civic participation and service to the community, in this case, the neighborhood of City Heights where a majority of San Diego taxi drivers live.
Mikaiil believes that through organizing people can change their lives and learn about the power of collective action. You can almost always find Mikaiil fighting for driver’s rights at the UTWSD office at 4265 Fairmount Avenue, Suite 180 where he openly welcomes drivers and community members to stop by and find out how UTWSD can help improve their working conditions.