Whether City Hall's Worried or Not, Another Taxi Drivers' Strike Starts Today

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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.
While that box of files might've stolen their thunder this morning, at least 200 sign-toting cabbies were back at Dallas City Hall this morning, marching 'round the reflecting pool to yet again complain about the preferential treatment given compressed natural gas-powered cabs at Love Field, where the city allows them to jump to the front of the taxi queues. It's an expensive modification indie drivers say they can't afford.

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."

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Some of the drivers, passing around a box of Kool-Aid Jammers juice sacks after the rally, sounded game for standing tough on the strike. But a second plan for dissent was rippling through the crowd, as well -- plans to keep lining up at Love Field, to keep working, and simply box out any CNG cab that tried to jump their place in line.

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."
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Former ATO leader Tunde Obazee gave an impassioned plea for drivers to fight the city's CNG-first policy.
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Thomas
Thomas

Everything is amazing. You have to have a genuine principle or God fearing belief in whatever you do. I don't personally think these were part of the CNG ordinance decision. Don't forget the phrase everywhere "we trust in God". United states is great country not because of its military, but because of the genuine God fearing way of living. The blind lust for more wealth at the brutal expense of the other is not fair and not American. I don't think things are on the right track. I hope some day some one will investigate it.

MWG
MWG

I was ready to refuse service from any CNG car in protest against the Green Police enviro-Nazis, and in support of free enterprise. Then, they played the race card. Now, I really don't care either way.

With morons on both side of the issue, there's no right move.

Darunner2010
Darunner2010

Many dont have the money to pay for cng guys they would love to buy it but they dont got the $ for it

Bear
Bear

The Africans who are claiming racism during the CNG controversy are the ones who berated DFW Airport to let their cabs operate there. During regular times the wait for fares can be up to 4 hours. They are content to drive cheap auto auction cars, wait that long for fares, and bitch about any change in their routine. If there were far fewer cabs, the money would be there. Plus if they were to get the city to accept the Hondas.......... but then again they would have brought that up if they were interested in a solution. I talked to the strike leaders abt it!!

MOVIE GUY
MOVIE GUY

IF THIS GOES DOWN GET READY TO PAY DOUBLE THE FARE MY FRIEND I AM TALKING ABOUT 90$ CAB RIDE FROM DOWNTOWN TO DFW BECAUSE CONVERT ANY CAB TO NATURAL GAS COSTS 12.500$ YES OVER 10 GRAND GUESS WHO WILL PAY THE COST ? YOU THE CONSUMER MY FRIEND 20$ CAB RIDE WILL BE 40$ OR DWI TICKET

Bear
Bear

@Movie Guy......... you obviously don't understand the issues. The city of Dallas basically sets up the fare structure. There are far too many cabs in the area. Get rid of a lot of cabs and drivers make more money. and BTW..... the drivers should be pressing the city to accept the Honda Civic CNG model. Taxis now need to have a wheelbase of 110" and the civic, which comes from the factory as a cng car, is 108.5" This would be an acceptable car especially for airport runs where the most of the trips are 1 or 2 people with very little luggage and you can get a brand new one for under $20 grand!!

DTP
DTP

Cab drivers fight to the end. Don't give up or give in. Don't let the Mayor and/or DFW airport dictate the future of your business.

peace!!!!!!!!

Bear
Bear

"Don't let the Mayor and/or DFW airport dictate the future of your business." ????Taxis are a regulated industry. The Cities and DFW Airport can dictate the terms cause the Texas Legislature gives them the right to do so!!

Bear
Bear

The cause is CNG vs Gasoline. Not Black vs White. It is a sign of sheer desperation that these clowns have to resort to using the race card. It's not going to be that long before they have the race baiters and poverty pimps down here. [aka Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson]

Mike
Mike

Another reminder of why I do anything to avoid taking a cab home from the airport.

MOVIE GUY
MOVIE GUY

ANOTHER REASON WILL BE DOUBLED CAB FARES

Bear
Bear

@ Movie Guy................ Horse hockey!!

JC
JC

This is more than a classic case of haves versus have nots. Economics, class warfare, racism, U.S. immigration policy all come into focus in this picture.

Skipping to my opinion, the cab drivers are totally justified in their position. City government (as usual) sides with money. Although few will openly admit it, many city residents are against the cab drivers because they are largely black, and immigrant.

I hope they win.

cp
cp

No it's because they are inconsiderate, rude jerks. AND they drive like shit!

MOVIE GUY
MOVIE GUY

I aggree my friend if they do not win on this strike get ready to pay double the fare for shitty ride to a rude and jerk cab driver can you dig it?

Daniel
Daniel

"Any man that doesn't have a reason to die is not fit to be alive."

!

Bear
Bear

I'm too bored with this issue [as a cab driver] to look up the exact quote, but Dr. King said to the extent of : A man who has not found a cause that he is willing to die for is not fit to live.

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

The word "drive" could've worked just as well there, but the "die" line really got the crowd fired up.

Downtown Resident
Downtown Resident

Between the two idiots cab drivers I had to deal with on NYE, one of which took a deliberate longer route, the other which wouldn't drive back into downtown (WTF?) I don't have any sympathy for these jerk offs.

Bring on the street cars!

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Wow, the idiots are alive in Dallas today. This has nothing to do w/ race, it has to do with the almighty dollar. Im all for CNG and alt fuel vehicles, cleans up the air and makes a more pleasant experience for the passenger as well.. Either suck it up and get with the times or get left behind is what I say.

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

"WE ARE AMERICAN CITIZENS BY CHOICE!"

What the hell does that have to do with anything?

Bear
Bear

I would love to know how many of them even file tax returns. I do cause I'm going to school and get federal loans....... plus it is the proper thing to do.

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

Sam, I'm sure they are trying to differentiate themselves from people who are either a. not legal workers or b. have chosen not to become citizens. Most legal immigrants face a wide range of prejudice and bigoted remarks with some frequency sadly.

Seems like the think this is an action that is directed to them as mostly minority and immigrant workers.

It's an interesting fact that immigrant and refugee populations tend towards work opportunities that their communities assist them with.

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

I understand your point, but I'm still not sure how that sign is relevant to the issue at hand. Might as well read: "WE LOVE CHEESEBURGERS!"

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

not a bad slogan for a protest march! Well, unless you're a vegan.

Ellum08
Ellum08

The way some of those ass-hats drive, I welcome a strike that keeps them off the roads.

MOVIE GUY
MOVIE GUY

IF THIS GOES DOWN GET READY TO PAY DOUBLE THE FARE MY FRIEND I AM TALKING ABOUT 90$ CAB RIDE FROM DOWNTOWN TO DFW BECAUSE CONVERT ANY CAB TO NATURAL GAS COSTS 12.500$ YES OVER 10 GRAND GUESS WHO WILL PAY THE COST ? YOU THE CONSUMER MY FRIEND 20$ CAB RIDE WILL BE 40$ OR DWI TICKET

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