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Taxi union to protest Seattle Port Commission for more accountability

Dec 13, 2022, 11:08 AM

Taxi Sea-Tac...

Union taxi drivers contracted to take people to and from Sea-Tac Airport are upset with the Seattle Port Commission and say they will be protesting at a commission meeting. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

(Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

Union taxi drivers contracted to take people to and from Sea-Tac Airport are upset with the Seattle Port Commission and say they will be protesting at a commission meeting.

At noon Tuesday, drivers are planning to pack the regular Port Commission meeting to demand elected members recognize their union rights.

According to a news release from Teamsters Local 117, the drivers were promised more oversight and accountability from the Port, but they say the Commission has failed to deliver.

“Over the last three years, we’ve met repeatedly with Port staff to put forward solutions to address driver issues, but no matter how creative and collaborative we try to be, all we hear is ‘No,’” said Hassan Warsame, a taxi driver and union leader who has worked as a taxi driver for 23 years.

Sea-Tac Airport approves $250 million for major updates

Airport taxi drivers had already engaged in a series of protests, including one in April 2018 when drivers rallied against airport taxi contractor Eastside for Hire for charging drivers $9,000 for the ability to service the airport.

The drivers say in 2019, the Seattle Port Commission voted to recognize the taxi drivers union and give them a voice in a two-year pilot program.

They say they are not making meaningful progress in that goal.

According to drivers, they are being treated with “dismissal and disdain” instead of being actively listened to as the agreement promised.

The motion from the Port Commission included multiple measures to provide drivers a way to resolve disputes with the airport, including a “reporting system” to “compile records of complaints and other service comments” and a plan to develop a “permanent agreement or memorandum of understanding” with the union.

“As voters, we elected Port Commissioners to provide oversight and accountability at the Port of Seattle and serve the public interest,” Warsame said. “Now, we need our elected leaders to vote to ensure drivers have a voice at work and respect our union.”

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