Taxi!: Cabs and Capitalism in New York City

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"New York City taxi drivers have the toughest of jobs, working twelve-hour shifts, seven days a week, for not much more than the minimum wage. The vast majority are lease drivers who, unable to afford the $300,000 for a taxi medallion, hire their cabs on a daily or weekly contract. If bad weather or traffic hits business, the burden is entirely theirs. To make matters worse, the Taxi and Limousine Commission and the New York Police Department vie with each other in imposing a get-tough approach on a largely immigrant workforce." "But, in recent years, yellow cab drivers have joined together to fight back. In 1998 twenty-four thousand went on strike to protest relentless harassment by Mayor Rudy Giuliani. And a forceful campaign led by their grassroots organization, the Taxi Workers Alliance, was critical in obtaining the recent fare hike, an increase that went largely to the drivers themselves." Biju Mathew, a longstanding organizer of the Alliance, draws extensively on interactions with the drivers themselves to tell the story of an industry that has come to typify the ruthless exploitation of modern business.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In 1998, as Biju Mathew reminds us in Taxi, a group of drivers—24,000 cabbies—staged an inspiring work stoppage in New York City. Theirs lasted only a day but showed that a group of "independent contractors"—the Taxi Workers Alliance—could make gains through lobbying, publicity, and direct action even when deprived of formal collective bargaining rights. As Mathew movingly describes, the New York taxi driving workforce"Thanks to the forces of globalization—has been "structured almost permanently into a culture of masculine bachelorhood" due to the forced separation of so many drivers from wives and families in their country of origin."—Steve Early, New Labor Forum, Spring 2008

"A stunning introduction to the lives of New York's taxi drivers. It is destined to become a classic."—Vijay Prashad

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565848115
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 5/26/2005
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.64 (w) x 7.66 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Table of Contents

Prologue : the distance between two victories 1
1 Roots of victory : the taxi strikes of 1998 11
2 Horse hiring : abolition and return 39
3 The age of greed, or what's neoliberalism got to do with it? 57
4 The reinvention of the yellow cab 83
5 Punish and discipline : race in the new urban space 107
6 The borders of globalization : negotiating the metropolis 143
7 Imperial amnesia 177
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