UTCC launches membership drive

By Peter Enger - Posted on 15 August 2008

The United Taxidrivers Community Council started its membership drive on September 22, 2008 and is proud to announce our first member, Farah Musse Mohamud who came to our table at Baba Palace to pay his dues and receive his membership card. (See photo)

Since that day, we have had an amazing response from you drivers, with many community leaders joining our membership ranks, and vowing to promote membership in the UTCC in their respective communities.

Chicago Cabdrivers! We have dreamed of this day, and have been working towards it all year long, and finally we have succeeded in getting all of our paperwork submitted to the governmental authorities (the State of Illinois, the Federal Government, and the IRS) to become a legal not-for-profit entity.

What does this mean, you ask? It means we are accountable to our own internal structural principles and pledges, and to our public pledges to you, our constituency and membership.

We are also legally accountable to the public regarding transparency about our democratic voting procedures, our constitution and by-laws, and our annual financial statements. These documents are legally required to be made available to any member who wishes to see what is done with the membership funds. We in the UTCC believe the People (that’s YOU and ME and ALL OF US TOGETHER) can make a difference in our own lives and living conditions. We only need to come together to demand better treatment.

Social movements for human rights past and present prove that this is possible, given leadership, unity and cooperation among the population. In every conversation we have had with you Chicago cabdrivers you have agreed with this position.

We must only remember that every union that exists in the world today had to overcome some of the same problems that we cabdrivers face today in Chicago. There are forces arrayed against us achieving our goals, including pessimism and cynicism in our own cabdriver community.

We in the UTCC are determined and dedicated to overcoming our obstacles, and we are every bit as confident that we will succeed in meeting our goals once we all come together in unity.

Our core Steering Committee members are busy handing out our membership materials, our brochure and applications, which outline our work, our vision, and the benefits of organizing. We will be providing material benefits, as all unions do, including a bond card, with term life insurance kicking in once we get enough members to get the best rates from the insurance company.

The main benefits of membership in the UTCC are the social and political benefits of coming together in unity to struggle together as a movement of cabdrivers who are finally standing up for our human rights, and demanding respect and dignity. We can achieve this sense of community by vowing to work together to address our common complaints and work towards solutions to them with the proper authorities.

As an added incentive, a discount membership of $60 is available until Dec. 31st, and is good for membership until the end of 2009. The price will go up on Jan. 1st to $100 for the yearly membership.

The day has finally come when Chicago will join the major cities in the United States that have a worker’s organization in the taxi industry, such as New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and others. We hope that we can become a model of organizing in our industry, both in methods and in principles of unity and structure.

Our membership drive is being carried out by core members of our Steering Committee. We have had to revise our membership policies for collection of dues in order to overcome some logistical problems. The revised policies are as follows:

There are six designated collectors- Fayez Khozindar, Peter Enger, Vait Miftari, Raja L Khan, Steve Kim & Ron Florence who are pictured on Page 4. Another change that we have made is to allow for a minimum partial payment of $20, giving you the opportunity to contribute the remaining $40 within 2 months.

Please join us in celebrating this historic moment in the Chicago Taxi Industry by seeking out our organizers and joining the United Taxidrivers Community Council. You may call 773-774-UTCC with any questions or to locate us to pick up applications and pay your dues.

It has been a lot of hard work, but we are proud and happy to say we have accomplished it!