Dozens of drivers and labor allies packed a Port of Seattle commission meeting.
Dozens of newly organized Teamster taxi drivers and their Labor allies packed a Port of Seattle Commission meeting to speak about the Port’s recent anti-worker behavior.
Last month the publically owned Port put their profits before the well being of workers when they awarded the SeaTac Airport taxi contract to Eastside For Hire. Eastside bid more than twice the current $18 million being paid by Yellowcab to service the airport. This inflated cost will come directly out of drivers’ pockets.
Before awarding the contract, the Port had amended their request for proposal to consider drivers’ ability to earn a family wage. This was clearly ignored by awarding the contract to Eastside.
Several drivers testified that with this new contract they simply wouldn’t be earning enough to provide for their families. Drivers who have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in their vehicle licenses don’t see a path forward.
Taxi drivers currently pay $5.79 per trip from the airport. Under this new deal, drivers’ costs will increase to $7-11. This represents a significant reduction in pay for drivers already earning less than Seattle’s minimum wage. The Port is padding their coffers at the expense of workers who are already struggling to survive.
Drivers’ testimony emphasized their grim situation. “With this new contract I would be making less than half of what I am making right now,” said Aamar Khan, a Yellowcab driver and member of Teamsters Local 117. “This will significantly impact my ability to provide for my family. I have three little kids. I have to decide between paying my mortgage and letting my kid play baseball.”
Ironically, the Port’s Century 21 Agenda envisions creating 100,000 new jobs. Their decisions hardly reflect the progressive values they espouse. A number of drivers referred to it as the “Port of Poverty.”
The taxi contract comes after a string of Port decisions jeopardizing the ability of other airport workers to earn a livable wage. Recently the Port overlooked an existing, local, woman-owned, union business for an out-of-state, nonunion competitor.
In addition to drivers, individuals for several unions representing Port workers spoke. The message to the Commission was clear — to consider workers ability to earn a livable wage when awarding contracts.