NYC Taxi Drivers Stage Airport Strike to Protest Trump

Bhairavi Desai talking:

We were outraged by the so-called executive order. I mean, it’s just—it’s absolutely inhumane and cruel. And we are a workforce that’s largely Muslim and Sikh. And we know that, you know, when the flames of Islamophobia are fanned, and now by the presidency, it has a ripple effect on everyday people in this country. We’ve known through the years that taxi drivers, who are 20 times more likely to be killed on the job than any other worker, have often been the workers that have been the victims of hate crimes.

it was an act of solidarity. It was an act of consciousness. What is happening in this country is not normal. We refuse to accept this as normalcy. You know, we are a better humanity than this.

in New York City, we have over 19,000 members, and it includes Uber drivers. But Uber, as a company, sought to take advantage of our strike. And, you know, of course, it’s backfired. People have been really outraged. But it’s not surprising, because the CEO of Uber is an adviser to the president, and, you know, Uber has an absolutely atrocious policy in its treatment of the workers.

Yesterday in Philadelphia, our—the Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania went on a similar solidarity strike and stood with the protesters—in San Francisco, in Austin, Texas, in Houston. You know, one of the things that’s happened is, because of companies like Uber, we are a workforce that’s been so deeply fragmented and impoverished, right? And when workers are kept poor, it has an impact on civil society. It’s harder for people to rise up and take collective action. But we are at a moment of such deep urgency in this society. And, you know, I’m really proud of our members and of the drivers across this country. This was a real act of courage, you know, particularly to have a workforce that’s predominantly black and brown stand up in this time.

– Lyft, the competitor to Uber, did respect this work stoppage and said they were going to give a million dollars to the ACLU over the next few years

Omar Jadwat talking:

there’s been an outpouring of support, I think, for a variety of organizations, but also, you know, that’s a small part of what matters. What matters is people doing what they can to make a difference. And that’s what we’re seeing. That’s what we saw this weekend in every way, you know? Contributions are important, but, you know, getting out and standing up are really—

And mobilizing those people is what those people and the people they know and the people they know and the people these people know is what’s going to make a difference.
____

Bhairavi Desai
executive director and co-founder of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance

Omar Jadwat
director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

— source democracynow.org

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