NYC Taxi Drivers Threaten Sept. 5 Strike over GPS tracking their cabs - Mercedes-Benz Forum

 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-25-2007, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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NYC Taxi Drivers Threaten Sept. 5 Strike over GPS tracking their cabs

NYC Taxi Drivers Threaten Sept. 5 Strike

After this month's transit meltdown, the last thing commuters want to deal with is a taxi strike that could have crippling effects on a city whose residents and tourists alike rely on the Taxi and Limousine Commission. A scary reality, however, is that such a strike could occur -- and in less than two weeks.

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance -- which accounts for more than 8,000 city drivers -- is threatening to curb their cabs on Sept. 5 if the Taxi and Limousine Commission does not get rid of their GPS system, which the union says invades a driver's privacy.

The debate over a taxi strike, however, begins first among taxi drivers. There are two strong sides to this debate, with some drivers who say a strike is imminent, while others who say no way, no how. It all depends who you ask.

"We are ready to strike," Bhairavi Desai, co-founder and organizer of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, announced during a news conference.

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Still, officials from the city's other major taxi union offers an entirely different response to the idea.

"There will be no strike. Read my lips: there will be no strike," said Fernando Mateo of the New York Federation of Taxi Drivers.

The two largest taxi driver associations are in total disagreement. The TWA claims 10,000 members and is calling for the citywide strike, while the FTD says its near-7,000 members will stay behind the wheel.

"When we need to fight, we fight. When we need to say thank you, we say thank you. But we don't have to be radicals about privacy in a cab. If you want privacy, you don't drive a cab," says Mateo.

The issue over a driver's privacy is the driving issue in the debate, with a driver's location being tracked no matter where he or she goes.

"The Taxi & Limousine Commission wants to spy on drivers and they want drivers to pay for it," argues Desai.

Both sides agree the TLC uses satellite GPS technology to track everywhere a taxi cab goes and keeps a log of that information. The dispute is over how that information will be used and just who will have access to it.

Mateo says it's understandable that the taxis are fitted with the technology and adds it's even advantageous to each driver. "It indicates where you're located, you can see where you're going," he says.

But Desai says there is a different motive for the TLC to install the satellite. "They will use this information to decide on drivers' incomes," she says.

Sources within the TLC and individual taxi drivers tell CBS 2 that the GPS fears have nothing to do with privacy and everything to do with money. Many drivers fear the IRS will use the data to audit drivers and alert the INS about illegal immigrants driving cabs.

That is why many drivers are willing to strike, creating, as Desai put it, what could be a nightmare for New Yorkers: "No taxis in New York City."

All issues could be avoided, of course, if both sides can reach a resolution.

In March, the TWA held a demonstration trying to prevent GPS from being installed in cabs.


wcbstv.com - NYC Taxi Drivers Threaten Sept. 5 Strike
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-25-2007, 02:56 PM
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All our local city employees have GPS built into their phones and it's monitored by the department which they work for. Only during lunch can it be turned off and only if you're not on call. It was designed to stop fuck offs and has worked, for the most part. But I've always been uncomfortable with spying tactics on employees, mainly since it portrays a lack of trust for anyone, which is a morale buster.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-25-2007, 03:58 PM Thread Starter
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But I've always been uncomfortable with spying tactics on employees, mainly since it portrays a lack of trust for anyone, which is a morale buster.
Hey Mitch, would you trust a NY taxi driver?
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-27-2007, 09:27 AM
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This strike date coincides with US Open so that should be fun.

I think part of the problem with this issue is that independent cabbies are required to buy this equipment out of pocket. It is not so much that they don't want the tracking, it is that they don't feel they should have to pay for the Taxi Commission mandated requirement.

There are also privacy concerns since many of the cabbies don't warehouse their personal cabs at night but take them home.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-27-2007, 09:31 AM
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Hey Mitch, would you trust a NY taxi driver?
I used probably 15-20 NYC cabs a week for three years and never had a single problem. They always got me to my destination by quickest route, even though I had a Southern accent and could not be confused with a local.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-27-2007, 02:20 PM
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I can sort of understand the privacy concerns for the independants. And I would tend to agree that if they are using the car for a purpose other than serving as a Taxi, it should be possible to disable the system. With the understanding of *serious* sanctions if they are caught working with the system disabled.
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