A handful of members from the United Taxidrivers Community Council declared victory during Monday morning's taxi strike, pointing to an empty side street near a
About 10 members of the drivers group gathered across the street from Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Tower's cab stand on Water Street to speak out against a ordinance that went into effect today and tightens taxi regulations.
The impact of the strike was not immediately clear. Even as UTCC promoted its 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. strike at the morning press conference, a number of available cabs drove past them on Water Street.
Meanwhile, organizers said UTCC chairman Fayez Khozindar was arrested for trespassing at O'Hare AirportMonday morning. Michael McConnell, spokesman for the American Friends Service Committee, said members of the UTCC traveled to the
The new ordinance makes a $1 passenger fuel surcharge permanent and restricts cabbies to working 12 hours a day. Passengers also can be charged $50 for vomiting in the vehicle.
Cab companies are required to keep more detailed records regarding drivers and their schedules, and companies will be held responsible for driving violations. The city will also publish a weekly list of suspended, denied and revoked drivers.
UTCC member Bill Burns said he is in charge of outreach to the city of Chicago — and specifically reached out to Alderman
"Enough is enough," said UTCC member Finn Ebelechutwu. "We're also taxpayers. Without cab drivers, there is no transportation."
Peter Enger, UTCC secretary, said he estimated there are normally 4,000 cabs downtown on Monday mornings and said the strike left only a few hundred circling.
When asked how cabbies can afford to strike, Enger said they're urging drivers to "not buy that second cup of coffee."
Cab driver Rick Soderquist said the cost of living in Chicago — including rent and groceries — continues to go up while cab fare has remained stagnant.
"We're working under conditions with little or no voice and no place at the table," said Soderquist, a resident of the
UTCC will continue to organize strikes, Enger said, but hasn't set a date for the next one. The goal is to get feedback from drivers about today's strike and decide how to move forward, he said.