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Carl Cowl

Call 30,000 Cab Drivers in General Strike
Big Companies Already Tied Up

(February 1934)

From The Militant, Vol. VII No. 6, 2 February 1934, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The strike wave launched by the general strike of the hotel and restaurant workers in New York has spread to the taxicab industry. 30,000 cab drivers went on strike today. The last straw which let loose the accumulation of bitter grievances was the disposition of the 5 cent tax on all rides. The cab companies want the money collected so far, estimated at between half a million and two million, to go to them as part of their gross income. But the men demand it on the ground that their pay, which averaged from seven to ten dollars for a ten-hour day, six-day week, was not enough to keep them alive, and that the tax was really coming out of their tips.

The strike is spreading like wildfire. Even the capitalist newspapers have been forced to admit this. The New York Evening Journal admitted on February 2 that, “they crippled service at the Grand Central Terminal, for example, that scarcely one cab was available there – generally there are five hundred.” “The scene at the Pennsylvania Station was worse, if anything”. This condition prevails at all railroad and steamship terminals in the city. The boss press estimates the number of men on strike at only ten thousands. That this is an obvious and deliberate understatement, will be a clear to all workers who have seen how they lied about the strength of the hotel strike.

All the big companies are tied up. The Parmelee System, Yellow Taxicab Corporation, Keystone, Five Boro, Radio, Terminal, General and Checker have been forced to admit that they are crippled.

Old-timers who have been through other strikes say this is one of the greatest demonstrations of solidarity in the history of the industry. By a unanimous vote of the strike meeting of the United Taxi Drivers Union of Greater New York, every cab was ordered off the street. At the time of the strike vote there were six thousand men in the union, headquarters and the strike halls. Thousands are pouring into union to sign up.

The following are the demands of the striking drivers:

  1. The entire “tax” to the drivers.
  2. The 8 hour 6 day week (48 hours).
  3. No firing for low bookings.
  4. Elimination of political and insurance racketeers.
  5. Eliminate police persecution.
  6. Against the vicious blacklist system.
  7. No double shifts.
  8. Recognition of the Union.

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