Whether City Hall's Worried or Not, Another Taxi Drivers' Strike Starts Today
|Photos by Patrick Michels|
|At least 200 cabbies marched around the reflecting pool at City Hall this morning to kick off another strike over preferential treatment for CNG-powered cabs.|
And even if City Hall isn't convinced it'll be a problem, the drivers rallied around Association of Taxicab Operators leaders this morning to begin another strike just in time for the Super Bowl tourism rush. ATO spokesman Mirza Sajid gathered them up a little before noon today to let them know: "The strike is on." They'll be back out there tomorrow at 10 a.m.
The strikers carried the same kind of red-on-white signs they had last fall, but some of the messages were far more racially charged this time around, calling the city's pro-CNG policy "racist," and saying it amounted to "Jim Crowism." "This is the final straw," said Juanita Wallace with the NAACP. "They're not going to be pushed around anymore."
Tunde Obazee, a former ATO president and cab driver, said he'd support everyone who remained on strike, but that this looked to him like the time to challenge the front-of-the-line policy. He suggested drivers licensed to pick up passengers at Love Field go back and defend their places in line. He said they simply cannot be afraid of being arrested.
"If your gas is not illegal, if your taxi permit is not a second-class permit, if your citizenship papers are in order, then I think you need to stand up like men and women and fight for your rights," Obzaee said. "Any man that doesn't have a reason to die is not fit to be alive."
|Former ATO leader Tunde Obazee gave an impassioned plea for drivers to fight the city's CNG-first policy.|