Cabbies, union members rally downtown

1000 union members joined cab drivers for an afternoon rally across from city hall in Chicago to show their support for higher wages and better working conditions.

The city’s cabbies say the city’s forcing them to live beneath the poverty line and they’re making a push to unionize.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal employees, or AFSCME, says it can’t wait to make that happen.

The union’s national president Lee Saunders came in for this all the way from Washington.

“I just think we’ve got to send a message. And that’s what we’re doing today,” he said. “We’re sending a message that these workers have been mistreated. They deserve dignity and respect on the job. They need a union. They’re asking for a union to represent them and that’s what we’re going to do.”

A recent study by AFSCME found that Mayor Emanuel’s overhaul of the taxicab industry dropped the average driver’s salary to just $5.40 an hour.

The city insists its reforms are improving conditions for riders and drivers.

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