Taxicab Operators Sue Uber for Violation of the Law

(Tukwila, WA) – Taxicab operators, who are members of the Western Washington Taxicab Operators Association (WWTCOA), filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court today, alleging that Uber is in violation of city, county, and state laws and regulations that govern the Puget Sound area’s personal transportation industry. 

“Uber is not playing by the rules like the rest of us are, and local, small business owners like myself and our families are suffering as a result,” said Parminder Cheema, a taxicab operator and elected member of the WWTCOA’s leadership council.  “The community is at risk as well.  If things don’t change, somebody might get hurt.”

According to the complaint, Uber is engaging in “an unlawful and deceptive business practice which harms the economic interests of taxicab drivers.”

In accordance with King County regulations, taxicab operators must abide by for-hire County licensing requirements; they must undergo annual criminal background checks, pass periodic physical exams, pass an English language test, participate in “ride-alongs”, and pay all fees associated with each exam or training amounting to hundreds of dollars each year. If they do not comply with these regulations, they risk fines of $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail.

Uber drivers are not subjected to the same safeguards, requirements, and penalties, the complaint alleges.   

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Step up and Support Taxi Drivers

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There is no doubt that taxis drivers are under attack, and it's time for all organized labor – not just the Teamsters – to step up and support them.  

on February 27, the city council watered down a proposal to cap the number of TNCs, such as UberX and Lyft, which are currently operating unlawfully in the city and essentially driving taxis out of business.

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The Seattle City Council Needs to Hear from You!

Take-Action.jpgThis Friday, February 14, the Seattle City Council will be making important decisions that will affect the ability of taxicab operators to earn a living.  The City Council will decide 1) whether to put caps on ride share companies; and 2) whether to allow for-hire vehicles the right to pick up stand and hail passengers.

We need to take action now to get our message out!

TAKE ACTION NOW!:  Email every member of the City Council immediately with the following message.  

As a Puget Sound taxi cab operator, I struggle every day so that I can earn a living for myself and my family. Recent changes in the personal transportation industry have put my livelihood at even greater risk.  To maintain a level playing field in the industry and basic fairness for taxi drivers, I urge you to put a cap on ride share companies that are operating outside the regulatory framework and to vote against stand and hail rights for for-hire vehicles. Thank you. 

You can cut and paste the message to create your own email.  Send your email to:

 


Taxi L & I Bill Overwhelmingly Passes the House!

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We have some great news out of Olympia!  Representative Cyrus Habib's proposed legislation (HB 2152) that would lift the Labor & Industries requirement for taxi cab operators has just passed the State House of Representatives on a vote of 93-1! 

The Western Washington Taxi Cab Operators Association (WWTCOA) and the Teamsters have been working hard to pass the bill since the start of legislative session on January 13. WWTCOA members testified at a Labor and Workforce Development Committee hearing on January 16, and dozens of drivers spoke to their representatives about the importance of the bill at our Teamster Lobby Day on January 28.

The next big fight will be in the Senate, where we will need to speak out in legislative hearings and meet with our State Senators. Under the bill, drivers would still have the option to participate in the State's L & I insurance program, but they could opt out if they so desired. 


WWTCOA Taxi Ticket Program

ticket-defense.jpgFor taxi cab operators, getting a moving violation can be a hugely expensive ordeal and even threaten your livelihood. Taxi drivers can spend thousands of dollars each year on expensive attorney fees, fighting tickets in court.

Now, the WWTCOA and the Teamsters Union are excited to announce a new Taxi Ticket Program that will help protect you when you get a ticket.

For an annual fee of $120, an experienced, professional attorney at the Teamsters Union will represent you when you receive a moving violation while you are driving your taxi.

Teamsters 117’s Associate General Counsel Daniel Swedlow graduated from the University of Washington Law School in 2006 and has extensive courtroom experience defending members of the Union, and he is skilled at getting tickets dismissed.

* To participate in the program, you must be a current, active member of the WWTCOA and you must maintain your membership throughout the calendar year. Teamsters and the WWTCOA make no warranties express or implied regarding the outcome of your case. For more information, talk to Dawn Gearhart at 206-441-4860 ext.1254.

 


Taxi Operators Speak Out in Olympia!

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Teamster taxi cab operators, along with dozens of other union members, converged on Olympia on January 28 for the first Local 117 lobby day of the 2014 legislative session.

Taxi operators teamed up with state correctional workers, warehouse workers, nurses, cooks and county and city employees for dozens of meetings with legislators.  

View photos from Lobby Day here.

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Fare Times - January 2014

Wondering what’s happening WWTCOA members in the taxi industry?  Check out the new Fare Times newsletter.  

In this issue you can read about:

  • a generous donation by taxi drivers to the Northwest Harvest food bank;
  • a new Taxi Ticket Program to help drivers who receive moving violations;
  • a recent taxi political forum;
  • taxi drivers' work to pass legislation in Olympia.

Check out the Fare Times here.


Taxi drivers make big donation to Northwest Harvest

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Puget Sound taxicab operators made a special trip this Friday.  The drivers traveled to Northwest Harvest, where they delivered a $3300 gift to the food bank in a show of solidarity and support of families in need this holiday season.

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Taxi Political Forum a Big Success!

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Teamsters 117 and the Western Washington Taxi Cab Operators Association (WWTCOA) hosted a political forum on December 10 at the Teamsters Building in Tukwila.

Over a hundred taxi drivers along with a dozen elected officials from the state, county, and city of Seattle attended the event.

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Fare Times - November 2013

WWTCOA-Taxis.jpgThe new issue of the Fare Times, the newsletter for the Western Washington Taxicab Operators Association is now available!  

This issue contains articles and updates on successes at two downtown hotels - the Waterfront Marriott and the Edgewater, plans for a taxi food drive this Thanksgiving, a legislative report, and member stories.

Check out the new Fare Times here.


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