taxi.jpgIt might be a good idea to mark Tuesday, August 2nd as your own personal Bike to Work Day. That’s the day labor groups have tentatively scheduled to grind San Francisco’s transportation infrastructure to a virtual halt. More of a halt than it’s already ground to, we mean.

Leaders of a group of San Francisco cab drivers have been in talks with union officials representing over 2,000 Muni operators and are planning a simultaneous strike designed to send a message of frustration to SFMTA, the governing body that oversees both industries.

That particular date was chosen because it coincides with a meeting of the SFMTA’s governing board.

The groups were brought together last month by labor activist and erstwhile supervisorial candidate Steve Zeltzer, who saw commonalities in the way the two communities felt slighted by city regulators.

“Both of these groups are being attacked by the SFMTA,” Zeltzer told SF Weekly.

On June 21st, a group of taxi drivers led by Tariq Mehmood engaged in a two-hour strike in conjunction with a protest event held in front of City Hall.

While the event only drew about 500 of the city’s approximately 7,000 cab drivers, it was nevertheless an impressive organizational effort to corral even that many cab drivers –they’re a notoriously fractious bunch and previous attempts to organize them into a single force have proven largely fruitless.

Ask a taxi driver why he or she is angry with SFMTA and you’ll doubtlessly get a long list of grievances. First among them is the 5% fee the agency recently imposed on credit card transactions. During the preceding decade, the processing of credit cards was handled by the cab companies, who were prohibited from passing the cost of doing so onto individual drivers.

After a decade of lobbying, SFMTA changed the rules earlier this year allowing cab companies to charge drivers for cost of processing cards under the condition that some of the money raised go toward the installation of back seat credit card terminals.

The terminals, which would be similar to the widely loathed installations in the backseats for New York City taxis, would play a combination of advertisements and public service announcements about San Francisco. While 10% of the revenue SFMTA generates from the ads is slated for the Drivers’ Fund, many cab drivers fear it won’t be nearly enough to offset the revenue they’d sacrifice by losing 5% every time a passenger pays with a credit card–something some in the industry think could account for half of all cab fare payments within the next decade.

Drivers also have concerns about a new system of electronic waybills designed to automatically collect locational information about fares they pick up and drop off. While proponents of electronic waybills insist the new system will help the industry more effectively regulate itself, tell drivers about the best places to pick up customers and significantly cut down on the amount of time drivers spend filling out required paperwork by hand, many cab drivers fear that the electronic system could compromise their personal information.

SFMTA hoped to quell these fears with a hike in the rate cabs are allowed to charge their passengers; but, even though the rate increase was approved by SFMTA’s governing board in May, it has stalled before going into effect.

There’s growing momentum among many cab drivers to move out from under the jurisdiction of SFMTA and into a system akin to the days of the Cab Commission, before the regulation of taxis was handled by the same body that oversees the doling out of parking tickets.

For their part, Muni drivers have their own long set of grievances with SFMTA. Many operators are still unhappy with the way that their contentious contract negotiation with SFMTA management turned out. After the breakdown of negotiations following union rank-and-file’s rejection of a contract agreed to by both union and SFMTA leadership, an independent arbiter effectively forced union members into a contract that looked nearly identical to the one they had turned down only days earlier.

In the midst of those contact talks, union members approved a measure allowing leadership to call a strike–even though such a strike is expressly forbidden in the city charter. Although the threatened strike never materialized, it indicated a willingness among Muni operators to engage in a work stoppage, city charter be damned.

At this point, virtually all the talk of a coordinated strike has come from the cab drivers’ side with union reps for Muni drivers keeping largely mum–meaning that, if push comes to shove, there’s a chance, come August 2nd, the taxi drivers may be going it alone.

Calls to union leadership by the Appeal have yet to be returned.

On a related note, the San Francisco Bike Coalition regularly offers Urban Cycling Workshops to help new bikers get comfortable riding around the city. Just saying.

Want more news, sent to your inbox every day? Then how about subscribing to our email newsletter? Here’s why we think you should. Come on, give it a try.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!
  • Tiferet

    I know you’re just saying, but let me put it to you this way–bikes are great IF

    * you have good depth perception
    * you have good reflexes
    * you are fully able-bodied
    * your job doesn’t care if you arrive sweaty (or you don’t sweat much)

    So it’s not like this is this great alternative that will work for everyone.

  • Tiferet

    I know you’re just saying, but let me put it to you this way–bikes are great IF

    * you have good depth perception
    * you have good reflexes
    * you are fully able-bodied
    * your job doesn’t care if you arrive sweaty (or you don’t sweat much)

    So it’s not like this is this great alternative that will work for everyone.

  • Dean Clark

    I really like what Brad wrote about the taxi industry in San Francisco.

    WHY THE TAXI TURMOIL? – Fri, May 20, 2011

    DURING THE PAST THREE DECADES San Francisco was home to the most driver-friendly taxicab legislation on the planet. A groundbreaking 1978 law stipulated that the city’s taxicab “medallions” (the permits that allow the holder to put one cab on the streets) would no longer be held by taxicab companies but by veteran cab drivers.

    The cab company owners loathed the new arrangement, and between 1978 and 2007 they crafted eight separate ballot measures intended to restore their supremacy. Eight times the city’s enlightened voters said, “No — we like our cabdrivers. The law stays.”
    – – –

    BUT IN 2007, a group of City Hall and taxicab industry insiders pulled off a fast one. The principals have never admitted their roles, but here’s how the deal went down:

    2007 was an “off-year” election (no contests for President, Governor, Senator, or Representative, no controversial ballot measures) and it was understood that voter turnout would be feather-light. Deep within the fine-print legalese of a mind-numbing, ten-page ballot proposal (“Transit Reform, Parking Regulation and Emissions Reductions”) the insiders hid a bomb — three devastating sentences that would abolish the San Francisco Taxicab Commission and place the cab industry under the control of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Most cunningly, the bill specified that all previous taxicab legislation would be nullified, and henceforth any decree from the SFMTA would automatically be law in the taxicab industry. The measure squeaked through with the “yes” votes of a mere 15% of the electorate, who had no idea they’d just sabotaged the City’s 7,000 cab drivers.
    – – –

    THE SAN FRANCISCO MUNICIPAL TRANSPORTATION AGENCY is a sprawl-ing octopus of more than 5,000 salaried employees. Its flagship enterprise is Muni, the perennially beleaguered bus and subway system whose brink-of-bankruptcy woes often scream from the headlines. The SFMTA’s director is paid $308,837 per year. The average Muni bus driver earns $82,000. In addition to paychecks, all SFMTA workers receive sick leave, paid vacations, and comprehensive health and retirement packages. (Cab drivers receive zero benefits. A typical driver earns approx $30,000/year. Medallion holders can earn an additional $25,000 or so by renting out their cabs and medallions.)

    The SFMTA just about wet its pants when the taxicab industry was delivered, bound-and- gagged, onto its doorstep. One SFMTA director publicly proposed confiscating all 1,500 medallions (no matter that medallion holders have invested their lives into the cab industry) for sale to the highest bidder. A veteran city attorney was assigned to conduct “taxicab industry town hall meetings” at which she was straight-up with those of us who attended: her job, she told us, was to figure out how to extract mega-millions from the taxicab industry — ASAP! We cab drivers were invited to offer suggestions on how the extraction mechanisms might be most efficiently structured, but the eventual outcome was non-negotiable. Don’t like it? Well, tough! Elections have consequences…
    – – –

    BY MID-2010 all of the various tubes and spigots of the gleaming new money pipeline were operational. By May 2011 the SFMTA reported that, so far, $10 million had flowed from the low-paid, benefit-less, health care-less workers in the taxicab industry into the compensation packages of the SFMTA. The cab driver body watched all this unfold and finally began to ask, Can this really be happening right here in God’s Favorite City? And: Are we not human, too?

    The confusing reports you’ve heard (5% credit card fees? Backseat advertising terminals? Honking cabs surrounding City Hall?) make no sense without knowing that these are the inevitable results of the 2007 coup engineered by the City Hall “in-crowd,” a coup brilliantly designed to transfer an actual fortune from some of San Francisco’s least-compensated workers to some of its best-compensated. The news media have all but ignored this story, but we cab drivers can no longer afford to.
    * * *

    The five-percent credit card fees? The cab companies recently complained about having to pay 2-3% fees to credit card companies. The SFMTA said, “Ah, hell — that’s chump change. Take 5% from the drivers, and keep the difference? Happy now?”

    Backseat advertising terminals? Advertisers and terminal vendors will pay the SFMTA a pile to wedge these noisy machines into our workplaces–your riding and psychic space.

    Fare increase? Hearing our howls, the SFMTA is tossing a diversionary scrap our way.

    A cab strike? It’s really hard for most cab drivers to see much of a choice here…

    Quote of the week — A 25-year veteran driver, discussing the Arab Spring: “For 40 or 50 years, the people under these dictators have been afraid to say anything. In Palestine we have a saying: ‘The only time I open my mouth is when I go to the dentist.’ But now we are speaking up. People say, ‘I have this shitty life. The politicians have mansions, great trips, luxury cars, foreign bank accounts… And now I’m going to open my mouth. Maybe I will still have this shitty life, but even if I die I’m going to open my mouth.’ This is what we are saying now…”

    Brad Newsham, Green Cab #914, cab driver since 1985 — http://www.bradnewsham.com

    FEEL FREE TO COPY AND DISTRIBUTE

  • Dean Clark

    I really like what Brad wrote about the taxi industry in San Francisco.

    WHY THE TAXI TURMOIL? – Fri, May 20, 2011

    DURING THE PAST THREE DECADES San Francisco was home to the most driver-friendly taxicab legislation on the planet. A groundbreaking 1978 law stipulated that the city’s taxicab “medallions” (the permits that allow the holder to put one cab on the streets) would no longer be held by taxicab companies but by veteran cab drivers.

    The cab company owners loathed the new arrangement, and between 1978 and 2007 they crafted eight separate ballot measures intended to restore their supremacy. Eight times the city’s enlightened voters said, “No — we like our cabdrivers. The law stays.”
    – – –

    BUT IN 2007, a group of City Hall and taxicab industry insiders pulled off a fast one. The principals have never admitted their roles, but here’s how the deal went down:

    2007 was an “off-year” election (no contests for President, Governor, Senator, or Representative, no controversial ballot measures) and it was understood that voter turnout would be feather-light. Deep within the fine-print legalese of a mind-numbing, ten-page ballot proposal (“Transit Reform, Parking Regulation and Emissions Reductions”) the insiders hid a bomb — three devastating sentences that would abolish the San Francisco Taxicab Commission and place the cab industry under the control of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Most cunningly, the bill specified that all previous taxicab legislation would be nullified, and henceforth any decree from the SFMTA would automatically be law in the taxicab industry. The measure squeaked through with the “yes” votes of a mere 15% of the electorate, who had no idea they’d just sabotaged the City’s 7,000 cab drivers.
    – – –

    THE SAN FRANCISCO MUNICIPAL TRANSPORTATION AGENCY is a sprawl-ing octopus of more than 5,000 salaried employees. Its flagship enterprise is Muni, the perennially beleaguered bus and subway system whose brink-of-bankruptcy woes often scream from the headlines. The SFMTA’s director is paid $308,837 per year. The average Muni bus driver earns $82,000. In addition to paychecks, all SFMTA workers receive sick leave, paid vacations, and comprehensive health and retirement packages. (Cab drivers receive zero benefits. A typical driver earns approx $30,000/year. Medallion holders can earn an additional $25,000 or so by renting out their cabs and medallions.)

    The SFMTA just about wet its pants when the taxicab industry was delivered, bound-and- gagged, onto its doorstep. One SFMTA director publicly proposed confiscating all 1,500 medallions (no matter that medallion holders have invested their lives into the cab industry) for sale to the highest bidder. A veteran city attorney was assigned to conduct “taxicab industry town hall meetings” at which she was straight-up with those of us who attended: her job, she told us, was to figure out how to extract mega-millions from the taxicab industry — ASAP! We cab drivers were invited to offer suggestions on how the extraction mechanisms might be most efficiently structured, but the eventual outcome was non-negotiable. Don’t like it? Well, tough! Elections have consequences…
    – – –

    BY MID-2010 all of the various tubes and spigots of the gleaming new money pipeline were operational. By May 2011 the SFMTA reported that, so far, $10 million had flowed from the low-paid, benefit-less, health care-less workers in the taxicab industry into the compensation packages of the SFMTA. The cab driver body watched all this unfold and finally began to ask, Can this really be happening right here in God’s Favorite City? And: Are we not human, too?

    The confusing reports you’ve heard (5% credit card fees? Backseat advertising terminals? Honking cabs surrounding City Hall?) make no sense without knowing that these are the inevitable results of the 2007 coup engineered by the City Hall “in-crowd,” a coup brilliantly designed to transfer an actual fortune from some of San Francisco’s least-compensated workers to some of its best-compensated. The news media have all but ignored this story, but we cab drivers can no longer afford to.
    * * *

    The five-percent credit card fees? The cab companies recently complained about having to pay 2-3% fees to credit card companies. The SFMTA said, “Ah, hell — that’s chump change. Take 5% from the drivers, and keep the difference? Happy now?”

    Backseat advertising terminals? Advertisers and terminal vendors will pay the SFMTA a pile to wedge these noisy machines into our workplaces–your riding and psychic space.

    Fare increase? Hearing our howls, the SFMTA is tossing a diversionary scrap our way.

    A cab strike? It’s really hard for most cab drivers to see much of a choice here…

    Quote of the week — A 25-year veteran driver, discussing the Arab Spring: “For 40 or 50 years, the people under these dictators have been afraid to say anything. In Palestine we have a saying: ‘The only time I open my mouth is when I go to the dentist.’ But now we are speaking up. People say, ‘I have this shitty life. The politicians have mansions, great trips, luxury cars, foreign bank accounts… And now I’m going to open my mouth. Maybe I will still have this shitty life, but even if I die I’m going to open my mouth.’ This is what we are saying now…”

    Brad Newsham, Green Cab #914, cab driver since 1985 — http://www.bradnewsham.com

    FEEL FREE TO COPY AND DISTRIBUTE

  • Dean Clark

    California’s Workers’ Comp Laws and San Francisco’s Taxi Industry, A Cab Driver’s Experience. By John Han

    SF Taxi Driver Dean Clark.
    The following is a highlight and recap of a discussion I had with SF taxi driver Dean Clark.

    Clark is a gate and gas taxi driver working night shifts at National Cab. Clark alleges that in April of 2010, his taxi was struck by another vehicle driven by an uninsured motorist at 8th St. and Minna, in which he had suffered, and still suffers from injuries unaccounted for today. Here are the highlights of the accident, and the details of what later took place with the cab company, as they have been relayed to me.

    In April of 2010, Clark was driving southbound on 8th St. in the far right lane. A woman in another car was heading westbound on Minna. She attempted to crossover 8th St to get to the other side of Minna, but in doing so, struck the front driver’s side of Clarks taxi, causing the taxi to spin. Clark says that upon impact, the taxi’s seatbelt locking mechanism had failed, and that no airbags were deployed because the vehicle did not have any. Consequently, Clark’s head hit the front windshield, and as the car spun, also hit the side window, causing blurred “temporary blindness”, for several hours.

    He says his legs struck the front of the cars interior causing temporary loss in the use of his legs. After being taken to General Hospital, his vision and limited use of his legs returned, although with numbness.

    According to Clark’s telling of the accident, the cab company at the time, and possibly the police report, claimed that the woman had liability insurance. But after filing a claim, the insurance company said that the woman’s policy had been canceled recently because of lack of payment, and then had then been reinstated, but only after the accident occurred. Therefore, the woman’s insurance company denied the injury claim.

    This led to Clark being referred to National Cab’s attorney. But Clark says the cab company’s attorney didn’t want to represent Clark in a workers’ comp claim nor defer him to another attorney. Neither did the cab company post information about California’s Workers’ Compensation laws anywhere at the company where drivers could see it.

    According to Clark, after National Cab had initially delayed in filing a workers’ comp claim, and then seemingly repudiated further attempt to do so, he contacted the cab company’s insurance carrier, which he identifies as Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association (PMA), a Pennsylvania lobbying firm.

    According to PMA’s website, the firm is involved in, “enacting workers’ compensation reform”, and since 1909, has been, “defending free enterprise and fighting to improve the competitiveness of Pennsylvania’s business climate.”

    Clark says that when he contacted the firm, it had denied any knowledge of a policy number associated with National Cab, and that the medical bills resulting from the accident to date have gone unpaid. After that incident, Clark sought help from a private attorney and is currently being represented by that attorney.

    In another matter not related to the accident, but related to Clark’s relationship to National Cab, an MRI revealed white spots in his brain. Clark says he believes it could be from long-term exposure to cab fumes.

    Dean Clark…

    “For the first three years or so driving for National Cab, I was placed in some of the most nastiest cabs you could ever imagine. And my clothes and everything else would smell like a sweet odor. And we’re not talking about dirty. We’re talking about some sort of odor or gas because it would make you light headed. I would have headaches sometimes for almost seven hours and would have to take Exedrin. So I started getting worried about that so I went to the doctor (Kaiser). The doctor there took three different blood tests at three different random times throughout the course of a year or two, and found that I have high carbon monoxide levels.”

    According to Clark, National Cab told him his high carbon monoxide levels were the result of him being a smoker.

    Going back to the accident though, he says he has been diagnosed with post concussion syndrome, three herniated discs, vision issues and others as a result. He continues to see a neurologist, and still suffers pain from the three herniated discs.

    As for airbags, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) does not require taxis to be equipped with airbags, which Clark believes could have dramatically prevented the injuries. Nor does it require cab companies to carry uninsured motorist coverage in their insurance policies. But Transportation Code Division II, Article 1100 Section 1106(i) does state…

    “Color Scheme Permit Holders shall comply with all applicable state laws and regulations concerning Workers’ Compensation”. (Transportation Code Division II, Article 1100 Section 1106(i))

    With regards to state laws and regulations concerning Workers’ Compensation, this following excerpt is from a memorandum put out in 2008 by the former SF Taxi Commission.

    “The state judicial system has affirmed that California taxi drivers are employees for purposes of workers’ compensation in certain employment situations. These employment situations have included “gate and gas” drivers. Local cases making this finding include Tracy v. Yellow Cab Co-Operative, Inc. (San Francisco Superior Court No. 938786) and Yellow Cab Cooperative Inc. V. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (1991) 226 Cal.App.3d 1288. Another case on point is Santa Cruz Transportation, Inc. v. Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (1991) 235 Cal.App.3d 1363.”

    (SF Taxi Commission memorandum 2008)

    In the same memorandum, the former taxi commission held that San Francisco cab companies are required by State laws to purchase and maintain workers’ compensation coverage for individual taxi drivers. This excerpt cited local codes pursuant to California’s laws.

    “Municipal Police Code 1147.4 provides:

    All persons, firms or corporations holding taxicab color scheme permits pursuant to Section 1125(b) of this Article shall comply with all applicable state statues concerning workers’ compensation and any applicable regulations adopted pursuant to those statutes. Taxicab color scheme permit holders must include a sworn statement attesting to compliance with such applicable statutes and regulations as part of an annual filing required by Section 1095 of this Article.

    Rule 5.H.16 requires that “the color scheme holder must have a copy of Certificate of Worker’s Compensation Insurance prominently displayed at the place of business so that it is visible to drivers.” This is based on California Labor Code 3350 which requires the same posting. Notably, Labor Code 3550 administers a civil penalty of up to $7000 for failure to post the certificate. The Commission also assesses a fine of $75 for the first offense of failure to post a current certificate.”

    (SF Taxi Commission memorandum 2008)

    “I’m fed up. You can’t treat people like this”, says Clark. He says he wants the lawmakers and the public to understand his experience. “I hope that they gain some perspective of what San Francisco taxi drivers have to go through, and how underrepresented we truly are”, he says.

    “Also when it comes to looking for a lawyer, for looking for someone to represent us, we’re just underrepresented across the board. And things like that need to change.”

    Clark has an attorney, and says he expects his case will eventually go to court.

    San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency can fine a cab company for failure to comply with workers’ compensation laws $45 per day for each day without insurance. (Transportation Code Division II, Article 1100 Section 1106(i) Schedule of Fines)

    How to contact Dean Clark

    More Information at:
    http://www.facebook.com/deanclarkstore

    Phone 415-240-2433

    Email: clark_dean@sbcglobal.net

  • Dean Clark

    California’s Workers’ Comp Laws and San Francisco’s Taxi Industry, A Cab Driver’s Experience. By John Han

    SF Taxi Driver Dean Clark.
    The following is a highlight and recap of a discussion I had with SF taxi driver Dean Clark.

    Clark is a gate and gas taxi driver working night shifts at National Cab. Clark alleges that in April of 2010, his taxi was struck by another vehicle driven by an uninsured motorist at 8th St. and Minna, in which he had suffered, and still suffers from injuries unaccounted for today. Here are the highlights of the accident, and the details of what later took place with the cab company, as they have been relayed to me.

    In April of 2010, Clark was driving southbound on 8th St. in the far right lane. A woman in another car was heading westbound on Minna. She attempted to crossover 8th St to get to the other side of Minna, but in doing so, struck the front driver’s side of Clarks taxi, causing the taxi to spin. Clark says that upon impact, the taxi’s seatbelt locking mechanism had failed, and that no airbags were deployed because the vehicle did not have any. Consequently, Clark’s head hit the front windshield, and as the car spun, also hit the side window, causing blurred “temporary blindness”, for several hours.

    He says his legs struck the front of the cars interior causing temporary loss in the use of his legs. After being taken to General Hospital, his vision and limited use of his legs returned, although with numbness.

    According to Clark’s telling of the accident, the cab company at the time, and possibly the police report, claimed that the woman had liability insurance. But after filing a claim, the insurance company said that the woman’s policy had been canceled recently because of lack of payment, and then had then been reinstated, but only after the accident occurred. Therefore, the woman’s insurance company denied the injury claim.

    This led to Clark being referred to National Cab’s attorney. But Clark says the cab company’s attorney didn’t want to represent Clark in a workers’ comp claim nor defer him to another attorney. Neither did the cab company post information about California’s Workers’ Compensation laws anywhere at the company where drivers could see it.

    According to Clark, after National Cab had initially delayed in filing a workers’ comp claim, and then seemingly repudiated further attempt to do so, he contacted the cab company’s insurance carrier, which he identifies as Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association (PMA), a Pennsylvania lobbying firm.

    According to PMA’s website, the firm is involved in, “enacting workers’ compensation reform”, and since 1909, has been, “defending free enterprise and fighting to improve the competitiveness of Pennsylvania’s business climate.”

    Clark says that when he contacted the firm, it had denied any knowledge of a policy number associated with National Cab, and that the medical bills resulting from the accident to date have gone unpaid. After that incident, Clark sought help from a private attorney and is currently being represented by that attorney.

    In another matter not related to the accident, but related to Clark’s relationship to National Cab, an MRI revealed white spots in his brain. Clark says he believes it could be from long-term exposure to cab fumes.

    Dean Clark…

    “For the first three years or so driving for National Cab, I was placed in some of the most nastiest cabs you could ever imagine. And my clothes and everything else would smell like a sweet odor. And we’re not talking about dirty. We’re talking about some sort of odor or gas because it would make you light headed. I would have headaches sometimes for almost seven hours and would have to take Exedrin. So I started getting worried about that so I went to the doctor (Kaiser). The doctor there took three different blood tests at three different random times throughout the course of a year or two, and found that I have high carbon monoxide levels.”

    According to Clark, National Cab told him his high carbon monoxide levels were the result of him being a smoker.

    Going back to the accident though, he says he has been diagnosed with post concussion syndrome, three herniated discs, vision issues and others as a result. He continues to see a neurologist, and still suffers pain from the three herniated discs.

    As for airbags, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) does not require taxis to be equipped with airbags, which Clark believes could have dramatically prevented the injuries. Nor does it require cab companies to carry uninsured motorist coverage in their insurance policies. But Transportation Code Division II, Article 1100 Section 1106(i) does state…

    “Color Scheme Permit Holders shall comply with all applicable state laws and regulations concerning Workers’ Compensation”. (Transportation Code Division II, Article 1100 Section 1106(i))

    With regards to state laws and regulations concerning Workers’ Compensation, this following excerpt is from a memorandum put out in 2008 by the former SF Taxi Commission.

    “The state judicial system has affirmed that California taxi drivers are employees for purposes of workers’ compensation in certain employment situations. These employment situations have included “gate and gas” drivers. Local cases making this finding include Tracy v. Yellow Cab Co-Operative, Inc. (San Francisco Superior Court No. 938786) and Yellow Cab Cooperative Inc. V. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (1991) 226 Cal.App.3d 1288. Another case on point is Santa Cruz Transportation, Inc. v. Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (1991) 235 Cal.App.3d 1363.”

    (SF Taxi Commission memorandum 2008)

    In the same memorandum, the former taxi commission held that San Francisco cab companies are required by State laws to purchase and maintain workers’ compensation coverage for individual taxi drivers. This excerpt cited local codes pursuant to California’s laws.

    “Municipal Police Code 1147.4 provides:

    All persons, firms or corporations holding taxicab color scheme permits pursuant to Section 1125(b) of this Article shall comply with all applicable state statues concerning workers’ compensation and any applicable regulations adopted pursuant to those statutes. Taxicab color scheme permit holders must include a sworn statement attesting to compliance with such applicable statutes and regulations as part of an annual filing required by Section 1095 of this Article.

    Rule 5.H.16 requires that “the color scheme holder must have a copy of Certificate of Worker’s Compensation Insurance prominently displayed at the place of business so that it is visible to drivers.” This is based on California Labor Code 3350 which requires the same posting. Notably, Labor Code 3550 administers a civil penalty of up to $7000 for failure to post the certificate. The Commission also assesses a fine of $75 for the first offense of failure to post a current certificate.”

    (SF Taxi Commission memorandum 2008)

    “I’m fed up. You can’t treat people like this”, says Clark. He says he wants the lawmakers and the public to understand his experience. “I hope that they gain some perspective of what San Francisco taxi drivers have to go through, and how underrepresented we truly are”, he says.

    “Also when it comes to looking for a lawyer, for looking for someone to represent us, we’re just underrepresented across the board. And things like that need to change.”

    Clark has an attorney, and says he expects his case will eventually go to court.

    San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency can fine a cab company for failure to comply with workers’ compensation laws $45 per day for each day without insurance. (Transportation Code Division II, Article 1100 Section 1106(i) Schedule of Fines)

    How to contact Dean Clark

    More Information at:
    http://www.facebook.com/deanclarkstore

    Phone 415-240-2433

    Email: clark_dean@sbcglobal.net

  • Erik

    These are the same union leaders that negotiated the contract that was resoundingly voted down by their membership, right? Maybe the taxi drivers ought to find someone to talk to who is actually in a position to lead.

    Anyway, a Muni strike would cause problems but no one would be able to tell the difference with the cabs, aside from the streets being a little less crowded.

  • Erik

    These are the same union leaders that negotiated the contract that was resoundingly voted down by their membership, right? Maybe the taxi drivers ought to find someone to talk to who is actually in a position to lead.

    Anyway, a Muni strike would cause problems but no one would be able to tell the difference with the cabs, aside from the streets being a little less crowded.

  • Erik

    Also, I propose that this comment section be renamed “Dean Clark’s Taxi Blog”.

  • Erik

    Also, I propose that this comment section be renamed “Dean Clark’s Taxi Blog”.

  • NoeValleyCat

    Aaron! You’re a good writer and reporter, but I know you can do better than this. I know that you are talented enough writer to know that you need to present *both* sides of a story. Why no response or reaction from SFMTA? Why no reaction from cab/MUNI riders? Why no reaction from city hall? I’m sorry, but this article really should never have been published. This is one side of a very complex story. Yes, the union folks have their grievances, but then again, so do the people who depend on this transportation system. We need this service to get to the jobs that we’ve been tenuously hanging onto. To be honest, the idea of these people going on strike while I’m lucky enough to even have a job! I hope that SFMTA puts together a list of qualified transit operators together, so that if MUNI drivers strike, they can fire the schmucks and replace them the following day at wages that won’t bankrupt the city. Anyway, let’s try a little more journalism and little less reporting one side of a story.

  • NoeValleyCat

    Aaron! You’re a good writer and reporter, but I know you can do better than this. I know that you are talented enough writer to know that you need to present *both* sides of a story. Why no response or reaction from SFMTA? Why no reaction from cab/MUNI riders? Why no reaction from city hall? I’m sorry, but this article really should never have been published. This is one side of a very complex story. Yes, the union folks have their grievances, but then again, so do the people who depend on this transportation system. We need this service to get to the jobs that we’ve been tenuously hanging onto. To be honest, the idea of these people going on strike while I’m lucky enough to even have a job! I hope that SFMTA puts together a list of qualified transit operators together, so that if MUNI drivers strike, they can fire the schmucks and replace them the following day at wages that won’t bankrupt the city. Anyway, let’s try a little more journalism and little less reporting one side of a story.

  • Adrienne

    Thanks for the heads up. Now I’m stuck at home for the day since I’m disabled and can’t use Muni nor Paratransit taxi service. I’m making a note on my calendar seven days in advance on July 27 to call Paratransit and hope there is room on the van. Shout out to the other disabled folks: remember to make your reservation!

  • Adrienne

    Thanks for the heads up. Now I’m stuck at home for the day since I’m disabled and can’t use Muni nor Paratransit taxi service. I’m making a note on my calendar seven days in advance on July 27 to call Paratransit and hope there is room on the van. Shout out to the other disabled folks: remember to make your reservation!

  • pchas

    I hope Dennis Herrera carries through on his promise to take legal action against drivers who carry out an illegal strike. Unemployment is pretty high; there are a lot of people who would die for a job with the pay and bennies they are turning their nose up at. Also, the City should issue about 1,000 new taxi medallions.

  • pchas

    I hope Dennis Herrera carries through on his promise to take legal action against drivers who carry out an illegal strike. Unemployment is pretty high; there are a lot of people who would die for a job with the pay and bennies they are turning their nose up at. Also, the City should issue about 1,000 new taxi medallions.

  • cabguy

    DeSoto Cab Co. doesn’t anticipate any disruption in service. There is different frustrations among different driver groups and we understand the pressure of taxi driving in the City, however we did not experience any disruptions during the last protest and we don’t anticipate any on August 2nd.

  • cabguy

    DeSoto Cab Co. doesn’t anticipate any disruption in service. There is different frustrations among different driver groups and we understand the pressure of taxi driving in the City, however we did not experience any disruptions during the last protest and we don’t anticipate any on August 2nd.

  • netzard

    Really? I thought the Taxi strike was last Saturday evening, when I could not get a cab to save my life.

  • netzard

    Really? I thought the Taxi strike was last Saturday evening, when I could not get a cab to save my life.