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(en) US, ARA*, Turning the Tide, #19 - IWW* Victory for Taxi Drivers at LA Airport

Date Mon, 21 Aug 2006 07:59:42 +0300

By Ernesto Nevarez, Port of Aztlan, Portofaztlan-A-yahoogroups.com
- Turning the Tide: Journal of Anti-Racist Action, Research &
Education, Volume 19 Number 4, July-August 2006
The City of Los Angeles has issued 9 Franchise Contracts to taxi
companies which allow them to work LAX. These companies have
permission to use about 3,000 drivers. Most are poor immigrants
from a variety of countries, such as Iran, Russia, Congo, Pakistan,
etc. The companies have banded together and have invented a
non-standard workplace with characteristics that have been
institutionalized and accepted as the "standard" and which the
workers have fatalistically believed was their reality. That was until
the Nick Search Decision!

Most of these companies vary in legal entity with the standard being
a non-profit membership corporation made up of members who own
the vehicles.The first thought was that since the taxi company was
made up of taxi owners, no one would be employees. This thought
was erroneous. Even in small partnerships, if you do work for the
partnership, you are an employee.

You can be a limited partner and only have a passive participation to
safeguard an economic investment but if you do work, you are still
an employee. Eventually the "owners" allowed for multiple cab
ownership and the standard is now limiting owners to 5 cabs
maximum. Well, u can just imagine what happened to the
immigrant work force of drivers. They were all denied their
employment rights and have been treated as independent contractors
and almost none receive even a 1099 and none are known to receive
a w-2 form.

An original member of the Waterfront Rail Truckers Union of 1987,
who has become a taxi driver over the last 15 years, was recently
released from a job at a taxi company. He requested wage credits for
all of last year during which time he worked at ITOA, Independent
Taxi Owners' Association, driving a cab belonging to the CEO. The
company claimed that he was an independent contractor, and the
worker strongly insisted that he was an employee. Just last week, he
received word that his employment status was upheld, and has
received some nice size unemployment benefit checks!

Political fall-out: All of the "owners" are in denial and the LATDA is
having an emergency meeting. The driver and his friends from the
competing LATDO are having their meeting Sunday night to
celebrate and plan on how to promote the victory and go after the
rest of the companies. Their mobilizers are IWW members with dual
membership and supporters. ONE single unemployed, homeless,
living out of a shelter worker, Vietnam Veteran, with NOTHING,
nothing at all except his pride, his IWW shirt, and a desire for
justice, has just FUCKED the whole damn cab industry! The
competing group, the LATDA, with all of their lawyers, have failed
to accomplish what this one Wobbly worker has done.

There are many "do-gooders" that come to the non-standard work
places, the underground economy, and attempt to find a solution
within the parameters of the non-standard workplace. The true
solution will come from the workers themselves. The industry and
government regulators "allowed" the workplaces to become
nonstandard with the understanding that the workers are complacent
and that the "do-gooders" will confine themselves to the status quo.
Never did anyone expect the workers to educate themselves and to
use the "non-standard" characteristics to destroy the same industry.

The "leader" of the LATDO, Mike, has been put in jail at least three
times this year for organizing at the LAX holding yard. Everyone else
and their mother are allowed on the holding yard except for him.
Yes, we know about the NLRA but it is part of a dream in a different
world and not ours. This time brother Mike will not stand outside the
holding yard by himself, but will include the rest of his brothers that
are organizing at the airport and at the harbor.

The purpose of the non-standard workplace is to deny the workers
their rights and to keep out legitimate competition. The only
recourse for the workers is to create economic chaos and anarchy.
After the war, when the dust settles, then there can be a collective
agreement. Congratulations to our Wobbly brothers and sisters at the

http://www.iww.org/en/node/2798an (Nazim) to the Comintern in
1935 alongside a 2003 statement by the Central Committee of the
ICP shows how far the ICP has drifted in its revolutionary
commitments. This drift has included opportunistically joining the
U.S.-propped-up governing council, a collaborationist gambit which
has not led to any sort of gains for the ICP in the most recent
* Antiauthoritarian anticapitalist initiatives
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