Back in the days of Fiorello LaGuardia taxi driving was a pretty hellish occupation with an unlimited number of desperate men cruising the streets trying to feed their children. These were the days of the New Deal and radical ferment as the Great Depression pauperized millions of workers. Someone came up with an idea- to limit the number of taxis so that a driver who worked hard could hope to earn a living.
Over time the medallion came to represent more than a job. It became both an object of speculation as well as something of a pension for individual owner drivers. Corporate medallions are now infamously valued at over a million dollars each with owner driver medallions at around $800,000. Many corporate medallions were sold off to individuals and to two driver teams in the Ed Koch days.
Black cars were authorized to take passengers by pre arrangement effectively stripping away the benefit of the medallion system for the drivers who do not own medallions (the vast majority.).What the medallion system still was doing was putting some mainly fictitious limit on the number of drivers on the streets hunting passengers. This was not enough for politicians who demanded legal metered taxis for every street in the five boroughs, even quiet tree lined streets inhabited by people who own and use their own cars and who value living in quiet tree lined neighborhoods.
While finding a board certified physician in a Harlem "doctor's office" is something one rarely can do While full service banks shun Brownsville it was metered taxis that became the urgent need of the hour.
There followed a legal and political battle that Michael Bloomberg ultimately won. There is to be a virtual doubling of the number of metered taxis to come in the time honored yellow and apple green as well.
In this fight every taxi industry entity opposed the Bloomberg plan including the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. The NYTWA suddenly and dramatically switched sides. The reason for that move is now crystal clear. As of October first six cents of every hard earned taxi fare (including unpaid fares) is going into a health benefit fund administered by NYTWA.
This gift from the man who swore in public to "fuckin' destroy" the livlihoods of everyone associated with driving a taxi - Michael Bloomberg. Look it up!
The NYTW is now set up to be a Bloomberg cats paw in his plan to continue hiz dominAtion of the city. Be has three selc proclaimed objectives- to destroy the teachers union, destroy taxi driving as a viable work occupation and defend stop and frisk. He regards these as unfinished business. TWA is now set to be the union label cats paw of this sociopath billionaire.
There can be no excuse for a so called union of taxi drivers to join in with Mike Bloomberg who has sworn to destroy our industry.