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Photograph: Paul Sableman/Flickr

Chicago taxi drivers are going on strike

Written by
Nick Kotecki
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Get ready to take an Uber on Thursday. Chicago's cab drivers are going on strike for the entire day. 

The strike, organized by United Taxidrivers Community Council, begins at 6am and will last 24 hours, according to their Facebook post (see below).

The group announced the strike after Uber initiated a petition to allow their drivers to pick people up at Midway and O'Hare airports. Uber shared that petition with Chicago aldermen in hopes of their support.

Earlier, Mayor Rahm Emanuel snuck a line into his budget proposal that would allow Uber and Lyft to pick up airport customers. There would be a $5 service charge for Uber and Lyft services, compared to the current $2 surcharge for taxi pickups.

Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Commissioner Maria Guerra Lapacek told Crain's that a strike would be "irresponsible" and would needlessly affect Chicagoans as well as taxi drivers' own reputations and pocketbooks.

Whether the strike will be effective or just how many drivers will join the strike remains to be seen. United Taxidrivers Community Council organizer Fayez Khozindar told Crain's he hopes 70 to 80 percent of Chicago's drivers would be off the roads. Another group, Cab Drivers United, will protest at the offices of six aldermen with districts near Lakeview, Uptown, Andersonville, Rogers Park and other neighborhoods on the north and northwest sides. 

According to Crain's, specific aldermen and wards targeted are:

33rd Ward: Deborah Mell

40th Ward: Patrick O'Connor

46th Ward: James Cappleman

48th Ward: Harry Osterman

49th Ward: Joe Moore

50th Ward: Debra Silverstein

Those taxi drivers striking are almost certainly counting on disrupting the comings and goings of air travelers. So, if you or anyone you know is scheduled to arrive in town on a jet plane tomorrow, you may just want to count on public transit.

As for the rest of the city, perhaps going on strike is not the correct form of civil disobedience. The very company cab drivers are striking against is the same one they’ll be handing all their customers to. That said, Uber surge rates could go through the roof. In that case, Uber would be smart to do away with surge charges altogether or at least keep them in check.

 

Chicago Cabdrivers! It has been an interesting week! The UTCC always tries to determine the WILL of the cabdrivers...

Posted by UTCC-Chicago (United Taxidrivers Community Council) on Tuesday, October 6, 2015

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