SF cabdrivers vote to unionize as industry continues to take beating from ride services

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco cabdrivers have decided that it’s time to form a union.

The local industry has been reeling for years as venture capital-backed ride services like Uber and Lyft have proliferated and taxi companies’ calls to The City to level the playing field have done little to help.

On Wednesday, cab drivers voted to initiate the San Francisco Taxi Workers Alliance, an affiliate of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) — marking the first time cabdrivers will be unionized in The City in more than four decades.

“If we don’t form a union, we’re toast,” said Beth Powder, 35, a union organizer and driver and dispatcher for DeSoto Cab Co.

Cabdrivers discussed unionizing for a couple of months, but in a “standing-room-only” meeting at the Verdi Club on Wednesday night, they voted unanimously to move forward with making it official, said Barry Korengold, president of the San Francisco Cab Drivers Association.

About 150 taxi drivers signed up for the union and pledged to bring more drivers with them, Powder said… (more)