On February 23rd 2015, the AFL-CIO Executive Council voted to grant a permanent charter to the National Taxi Workers Alliance. As the 57th national union of the AFL-CIO, we are the first non-traditional workforce (non-employees) to be granted membership in over 60 years, and the first one in the history of independent contractors. It will mean greater power, influence and resources for the fight for justice, rights, respect and dignity for tens of thousands of taxi drivers.
The Executive Council first voted to grant NTWA an Organizing Committee charter in August 2011. The official charter was authorized by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on October 20th 2011, during a signing ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Also, watch President Obama Congratulate NTWA at the White House Diwali event (3:25 minutes in).
On October 20th 2011, following our official charter ceremony with the AFL-CIO, we headed down for the Board Meeting of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), being held at the AFL-CIO headquarters. After our greeting of solidarity to our transit brothers and sisters who labor by land or by sea or by air, ITF General Secretary, David Cockroft, made a motion to grant NTWA affiliation. The motion passed unanimously – the fastest vote in ITF history. Leaders from all over the world stood and cheered taxi workers and pledged their support in our fight for justice. GS Cockroft made a rousing speech, calling for an end to the sweatshop conditions in the taxi industry. He said taxi drivers are among the most exploited transportation workers anywhere and our heroic organizing everywhere called for solidarity. ITF is organized under the principle of “practical solidarity.” This means the ITF gives actual resources and support to member organizations in our campaigns and in the development of strong organizations. ITF membership also means that the NTWA will work directly with our fellow taxi unions all over the world. Garages and regulators have international affiliations. Now, the drivers will too.
On the Creation of the National Taxi Workers Alliance (Bhairavi Desai, 2011)
The taxi bosses have had a national trade association since 1917 – just ten years after the gasoline-powered taxicab came to the U.S. To this day, they hold lavish annual conventions and trade shows and, in their first order of business, they meet with our regulators. Money meets politics meets labor exploitation. In 2011, the National Taxi Workers Alliance was born to crush the chains that bind hundreds of thousands of taxi workers across this nation. The bosses and regulators have their associations, their legacies, their eras. This is all ours.