(SEATTLE) – Several hundred taxi cab operators in Seattle and King County met today to begin the process of forming an association which will work with Teamsters Local Union 117 in Tukwila. Excessive fees and other obstacles to competitively operating in Seattle have compelled the drivers to form the association. There are approximately 2,000 taxi cab operators in the area.
The new association will be called the Western Washington Taxi Cab Operators Association (http://www.teamstertaxi.org/).
“We welcome this new association with our local union and we will dedicate our time and expertise to help them achieve fairness in their industry,” said Tracey Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “These drivers are hardworking members of the Seattle and King County community. They should be treated with respect.”
One of the main issues that the new Association plans to tackle is the excessive fees that taxi cab operators must pay for liability and insurance coverage. Currently, their fee payments exceed other occupations which are far more dangerous, such as construction workers. Additionally, the members of the Association plan to utilize the Teamsters’ political clout so that existing regulations governing taxi, sedan and shuttle services are enforced.
“I am voting to be part of this Association with the Teamsters because without banding together, we are just one voice by ourselves,” said Abdi Salad, a Yellow cab driver.
“As part of a group we will be stronger and finally have a voice that will be heard by Seattle officials,” said Jagjit Singh, a twenty-year taxi cab operator with Orange cab.
Teamsters Local 117 represents more than 16,000 hardworking men and women throughout the state of Washington.