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D.C. Taxi Drivers Organize With Help From Local Teamsters Union

D.C. taxi drivers say they want more input into regulation decisions.
Andy Melton: http://www.flickr.com/photos/87054972@N00/4920759830
D.C. taxi drivers say they want more input into regulation decisions.

A group of D.C. taxi drivers announced the formation of the Washington, D.C. Taxi Operators Association, a group to represent their interests in the creation and implementation of taxicab regulations in the city.

The association is to be affiliated with Teamsters Local 922 in Washington, the local arm of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Though it will be affiliated with the Teamsters Union, the association will not itself be a union, since taxi drivers are either independent or lease-operators.

According to a press release, the Teamsters were approached by taxi drivers because they were not satisfied with amount of input they had in regulation talks with the D.C. Taxi Cab Commission.

"For far too long, taxi drivers in Washington, D.C., have not had a strong voice to provide input about regulations and policies that affect their livelihoods," said Ferline Buie, President of Teamsters Local 922. "Their new association with Teamsters Local 922 will give them the strong voice they need and deserve."

Drivers have been struggling to implement improvements mandated by D.C.'s taxi modernization law. Deadlines were extended twice for the mandated installation of credit card readers. Even amongst those who met the deadline, some haven't seen any money from payment service providers.

Also on the list of taxi driver grievances are the dome lights and new data tracking systems mandated by regulations. A group has brought a class action lawsuit against the District government in U.S. District Court, saying these regulations violate their constitutional rights.

The first meeting of the Washington, D.C. Taxi Operators Association will be held Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 4 p.m. at Teamsters Local 639.

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