San Francisco Taxi Workers Alliance

San Francisco Taxi Workers Alliance

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NO ON 22, A CAUTIONARY TALE
I have worked hard almost my entire adult life. In my early twenties, when I lived in Colorado, I set foundation, which was probably the most physical job that I have had. After that, also in Colorado, I learned how to install, sand and stain hardwood floors. After a divorce, my three girls and I moved in with my parents back in my home state of CA. I thought it would be easy to get a good job installing floors because of my experience. My return happened to coincide with the housing crash; so I was forced to pivot and look for work in another field.
That is where my relationship with DirecTV would begin. That relationship would end eight years and eight months later on a concrete floor at the bottom of a seventeen-foot ladder. When I first got the offer, to work for DirecTV, I was very excited. DirecTV was a well-known, established and respected business. What came next is the reason I am writing this.
It turned out to be a position that works for DirecTV indirectly. CIG was a contractor for DTV who in turn contracts other people to do the actual work. I really did not understand what I was getting into. The following are a few examples of a system where they could exploit people for cheap to no-cost labor. A system designed to put all risk and loss on the subcontractors.
One such method was the use of bonuses. Before the Genie system all boxes worked independently. To prevent a customer from ordering x number of boxes and then giving y number of boxes to z number of friends, Dtv tried to connect phone lines to every box they could. Once a phone line was connected to a box, Dtv would periodically call the box and the box would call back. This would enable Dtv to see if the boxes were pinging from the same address. Customers were unaware of this function.
If the contractor I worked for would connect at least 40% of boxes he would get a substantial bonus. I don’t know the amount, but it must have been substantial, because if we did not connect the 40% he would then turn around and take away 10% of our total pay for the week.
They did provide a normal terminated phone line that we could connect to the box if it was close to a phone jack. However, because most TVs were not close to a phone line, and the increase of cell phone use that caused many people to cancel their land line and various other reasons it was usually impossible to meet that number unless we ran phone lines from the telephone access box usually located outside on the side of homes. Our actual job that we were compensated for was for running cable to each box. We received no compensation for running a phone line ever. I remember (**** ****) at every meeting telling us that we had to run a phone line every time there was phone service to the house. Our HR/dispatcher would call ahead and ask the customers if they had phone service. Then they would double check if in fact we did connect phone lines. Every meeting they pushed phone lines and would make us go back sometimes and run a phone line if we didn’t the first time.
I remember asking a telecom technician how much he charged for running a phone line from the box to a room. He told me the industry standard was about $120 a line. Not only did we have to run the lines for free, we also had to learn how to do it, buy the phone line, and all the equipment involved for installing and terminating the phone line. Imagine if you were a mechanic, and you worked on engines. You finish work on an engine for a customer and you ask to get paid. They tell you that you also must fix the transmission for free. In addition to that, you must pay for all the parts out of your own pocket. If you do not to do a certain percentage they are going to withhold the total amount of money you did earn on the engines for the week. It does not matter if it is your fault or not, because again, sometimes it’s just not possible to do.
We also received an unfair amount of charge backs and often for unfair amounts. I do believe in doing a professional job and standing behind your work, but what they did was unfair. First, we were never able to challenge the charge. If we asked for explanation, we were told that it was Dtv’s doing and there was nothing that we could do about it. One example of a very common and unfair charge back was the “customer educational” charge back. This charge back was given to us when a customer called in to Dtv because they did not understand something about the Dtv system. This is what I remember hearing from (**** ****), the owner of CIG, and the supervisors. It did not matter that a lot of the time the customers were not there for the install. We also were charged back on upgrades that were often unfair. Often, we would get charged back on upgrades for things we did not even do. For example, if there was an install that was not properly done by the previous technician, and we did not fix it, we could be charged anyway. If the upgrade was for a box replacement and extra work was required to be redone, we could be charged if we didn’t do it. The problem is we were not paid extra to do so. That includes putting up a whole new dish, re-running lines, replacing fittings to bring the job up to Dtv standards. It did not matter that it might take you an extra hour or four to do so. If you did not do it and got caught you would be charged $65. Here is the kicker. If we got back charged, for any reason, on an upgrade we would be paying $65 on a job we only received $35 for. That does not include the money we lost on gas and material. We had to buy all our own material. That included only Dtv endorsed equipment. We could only use Dtv Perfect Vision cable and fittings and certain compression tools and st*****rs. The only thing that was provided was the Dtv receivers, cables to connect to the tv, small pre-made phone line, dishes and the mounts. Not too long ago I found out that (**** ****) use to unfairly back charge us for no reason or fault of our own. So out of all the back charges that we received most were unfair and some were questionable. I did hear a lot of guys talk about their back charges, so I know it happened often. I would estimate that I heard at least 3-5 a week. Sometimes there was even more than that.
Our single biggest expense (other than a vehicle) was gas. That brings us to the next example of how they would minimize their risk and overhead and unfairly put it on us. Our designated area of service was huge. Some of the places we had to drive to were two hours away including, Bear Valley, Yosemite National Park, Groveland, West Point, Long Barn, Murphy’s and Arnold to name a few. I remember a few times my route included Sonora then Long Barn then West Point. That is roughly 5 hours of driving without traffic. I have been to those mountain places countless times for Dtv. I remember guys regularly saying they had drove 2 to 3 hundred miles in a day. The other major problem with installing Dtv in the mountains is your ability to install a dish diminishes. In some areas like Mi-wuk Village, Twain Heart, Bear Valley and Yosemite it is a very small chance it will go in. Dtv is a satellite-based TV service. The satellite is in a geo-synchronized orbit. In order to obtain signal, the south east sky must be clear. The receiving dish must be able to establish line of sight with three satellites. If that is impossible than the customer cannot get Dtv. If the trees are too thick, or too tall, it is impossible to get signal. On many occasions I remember driving all the way out there to three different jobs and have none of them go in. If even one job fell through after gas and expenses you could make as little as $20 for ten hours of work.
Days like that were common. That is why nobody wanted a mountain route. I remember management telling us in a meeting that Dtv “in-house” often cherry picked the routes leaving us (contractors) with the bulk of the mountain routes. Obviously this was in Dtv’s best interest, because all the risk of losing gas, time and money fell on us. We really had no choice in the matter. We could not refuse the route. I remember a tech called in a particular morning to tell the manager that he was sick and couldn’t do his mountain route. I heard the supervisor tell the tech that if he could not do the route, his services would no longer be required at the company.
Although we were contractors we still had to abide by many of the rules that the “in house” employees did. We did have to wear uniforms, proper boots and Dtv I.D. badges. After every job was closed, an automated call was generated to every customer. Customers were given surveys that included ten questions that rated our performance from 1-10. Examples of questions were: Did tech arrive on time? Did tech show badge at time of arrival? Was tech wearing a Dtv uniform? This was known as a post call. We were not allowed to get less than 97.5% on our monthly post calls. If we did, we would be reprimanded, or in some cases, techs were let go. “Post calls” were a part of our “metrics” which we received monthly reports on. The list of metrics included: Service return at 30, 60 and 90 days, post calls, phone lines (later internet connection) and DPP (the frequency at which we sold Dtv protection plan). These metrics were constantly a topic at every meeting, and we were always reminded how important these figures were.
We also had very little say over our schedule. We could ask for days off, or try to call in sick, but there was no guarantee we would get it off. The shop was open on weekends so people would try to call out regularly. The majority of time people were not allowed to “call in”. I remember on occasion we were told that if we did not show up for work we wouldn’t be routed for a couple of days or we could find some other place to work. The first week I worked there I worked for 14 hours the first day, 16 the second, then 15,15 then 17. The first month I worked there, I worked with few days off. It was the same for everybody at the shop. At times we were required to work 6 days a week. There was a stretch there where we worked the better part of 4 years at 6 days a week and at least 10 hours a day. As contractors, we never collected overtime pay.
The last example is the $75 late fee. If we happened to have all our equipment we could go directly to our first appointment. If not, we had to go to the shop and be at our first appointment by 8:30am. Appointments were in four-hour block windows (8-12,12-4,4-8). It did not matter if the workload or the drive time made it impossible. We had to call in every time we arrived at a job and they would put us onsite. We were constantly harassed to be onsite on time or face a $75 charge for being late. I remember that I mentioned to our dispatcher that as contractors they were not really within their rights to do that. I just mentioned it as a matter of fact, not as a threat. I did not actually think it would go further than her, because we were friends, but two days later, after a meeting,(**** ****) pulled me aside and put me in my place. He questioned me about the statement. Obviously I felt intimidated, and thought I was going to lose my job. I downplayed what I said and just kept nodding my head in agreement with whatever he said until it was over. He stated that they could tell us where and when to be and that was that.
Many guys told me that other contractors were worse than CIG. Connect TV was one that I remember being mentioned. I was told that they would yell and scream, push and shove and even make them do push-ups. The fact that we were contractors does not allow for the aforementioned practices. One of the three factors for a legitimate contract is that it be legal. NO party can hide behind any contract or expect it to shield them from the law.
The RICO act was a federal law that was, and is, used to prosecute criminal organizations. Many states have their own laws that help them prosecute people based on association. For example, if someone low in the organization committed a crime, even the highest level could be charged with the same crime.
I believe those laws could apply here. Dtv is responsible for all actions of their contractors. The very same contracts that they used as shields would now become proof of their association. We did have Dtv representatives come and count inventory and actually had a manger sit in on meetings where all those rules I talked about earlier, were stated freely. The first in-house manager was present at many meetings and even conducted an inspection of all our trucks to make sure we were using the proper cable, fittings and tools.
I realize that with everything happening that this may not seem important. However, it is more important than ever. Dtv and their contractors did this because they knew they could take advantage of the fact that there were not many jobs available. They tried to remove every right we had as workers under their contractor system, even the right to receive payment for our work. If there is nothing to check them, they will continue to use this system to use people as employees without being responsible for any sort of benefits or liability.
If you were a contractor for Dtv I implore you to speak up. Even if you think you cannot because you already settled with them, please do. Try to say everything you can without violating any agreement you might have with them. Just because you settled on an action that involved lack of overtime pay, lack of breaks or failure to pay minimum wage, does not mean you can’t speak out if your contractor took advantage of you. Below is a list and link to every senator and state representative. Send them a message on every platform you can find (listed state emails, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter). Have your friends and loved ones do the same.
The fact that Dtv was bought out by AT&T does not matter. Corporations enjoy many of the advantages for being a corporation. However, there are also downsides to those same advantages. One of them is that a corporation is considered an actual legal person. Corporations often use that to their advantage. However here it does them a huge disservice. Reason being, it does not matter that management may have changed, in the laws eyes it is the same person. When AT&T bought DirecTV, they purchased all their assets. But, they also became responsible for all of their liabilities. Dtv continually stepped up to the line until they had passed it by a mile. Dtv crossed the line from corporation to criminal organization and that is how they should be treated.
What Dtv did do was to increase their profit, by attempting to exploit people for free labor, or cheap labor. Dtv accomplished this by implementing a system of contracting.
Last year California passed AB5 to protect sub-contractors from this very thing. Corporations like Uber, Lyft and Door Dash said they would not continue to do business in California if this law was implemented and enforced. This coming election these same corporations, including InstaCart and Postmates are trying to pass Proposition 22. This would provide an exemption from AB5 for app-based drivers. These companies spent 184.3 million dollars to pass Prop 22 this year. This is the most for a measure in U.S. history. I do realize that it is ideal for some people who want a little extra cash and not be held to a schedule. The truth is, these companies could provide the same kind of flexibility to employees if they wanted to. Technically they could let their employees come and go as they please, just the same as if they were contractors. AB5 was a law passed to protect contractors from many things including exploitation and unlawful conversion into an employee. Prop 22 is an attempt to remove people from that protection under the guise that it provides them freedom. A study from UC Berkeley, said earnings could be well below the minimum wage at $5.64 an hour.
In the event of injury or accident, the contractor and their families will be left with the financial hit, as they cannot qualify for unemployment insurance or disability insurance (unless federal after a year).
That is where I am, still on the concrete at the bottom of that 17-foot ladder. About a year and half ago I was installing Dtv on a commercial building. Because of a faulty hatch door, I fell 17 feet. I tore my ACL, MCL, and my meniscus. I also broke and compressed several vertebrae. A year and a half later, after knee surgery and a back procedure, I still have not worked. The pain is still there every day and most days I don’t do much but wait for back surgery. Still, sometimes I wake up and I have to crawl toward the bathroom. My little boy who is 10 and my little girl who is 8, often come and stand in front of me, bearing their shoulders, so that I may use them as human walkers when they see me struggling. Even though Dtv treated me as an employee, because I was a contractor, I received nothing. I could not even apply through the county for disability. I had to wait a year to apply at the federal level. Prop 22 is an attempt to undermine a law that will protect “app-based drivers”. While prop 22 does try to provide some protection in case of accident, and a health care stipends, it is still not enough. Compare by visiting the Mobile Workers Alliance website. For workers who are looking to “just make a little extra cash” and treat it as if they are “just mowing a few lawns” it might be ok. However, for workers who depend on these positions as “jobs”, it is not “ok.”. Prop 22 also opens the door for more companies in the future to try and find exemptions around AB5 and its protections. When it comes to the engineering and design of the system of the oceans, don’t let the sharks do it! Vote no on Prop 22. #NoOnProp22

SFTWA is a growing AFL-CIO affiliated union for San Francisco taxi drivers

Operating as usual

Memory of Dr. Sam Dubal '15 Honored Through $1M Anthropology Fellowship | Letters & Science 09/08/2021

Memory of Dr. Sam Dubal '15 Honored Through $1M Anthropology Fellowship | Letters & Science

Our special guest Veena Dubal and her family, friends and siblings set up this endowment fubd in memory of her brother 💙.
https://ls.berkeley.edu/news/dr-sam-dubal

Memory of Dr. Sam Dubal '15 Honored Through $1M Anthropology Fellowship | Letters & Science September 7, 2021The Sam Dubal Fellowship in Critical Cultural and Medical Anthropology honors the legacy of Sam Dubal, M.D., Ph.D. ’15, as an anthropologist, activist, medical doctor, professor, and ardent contributor to many vibrant intellectual communities. Dubal’s family generously establish...

General Drivers Meeting 09/08/21 09/07/2021

General Drivers Meeting 09/08/21

Join us on Wednesday, Sept. 8 to hear an update from our special guest.
https://www.sftwa.org/general_meeting_09_08_21

General Drivers Meeting 09/08/21 SF Taxi Workers Alliance General Meeting on Wednesday, September 8, at 6:00 pm. All taxi drivers are welcome!

Prop. 22, the gig worker exemption for Uber and Lyft, is ruled unconstitutional 08/21/2021

Prop. 22, the gig worker exemption for Uber and Lyft, is ruled unconstitutional

https://www.sfchronicle.com/tech/article/Prop-22-the-gig-worker-exemption-for-Uber-and-16401915.php

Prop. 22, the gig worker exemption for Uber and Lyft, is ruled unconstitutional Proposition 22, which exempts gig work companies like Uber and Lyft from treating drivers...

High Ride-hail Prices Send Passengers to Taxis, But Drivers Still Struggle 08/19/2021

High Ride-hail Prices Send Passengers to Taxis, But Drivers Still Struggle

Hot Off the San Francisco Public Press

High Ride-hail Prices Send Passengers to Taxis, But Drivers Still Struggle While customers switching to taxis does help drivers who need the business, a veteran driver says some are still struggling to make ends meet.

CEMTF 2ND Virtual Summit Series: Clean & Just Transportation 8.20.2021 08/19/2021

CEMTF 2ND Virtual Summit Series: Clean & Just Transportation 8.20.2021

Peter Miller, member of the SFTWA Executive Board, speaks during this symposium Friday morning online.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JKxAnL2RMfL2OLyn8s2yqqK5KdNBxuwMC88CpjYQ2dQ/edit?usp=drivesdk

CEMTF 2ND Virtual Summit Series: Clean & Just Transportation 8.20.2021 Clean & Just Transportation Friday, August 20,2021 9AM - NOON Please Register Here Welcome Cheryl Davila, Chair CEMTF & Former Berkeley City Councilmember Land Acknowledgement Corinna Gould, Chair & spokesperson for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan/Ohlone Introducing the Day Amos White...

Hamilton at the Orpheum 08/11/2021

Hamilton at the Orpheum

HAMILTON starts this evening (Aug. 10) at the ORPHEUM!!
See the link below for all the information!!
https://www.sfmta.com/notices/hamilton-orpheum

Hamilton at the Orpheum TO: San Francisco Taxi Industry Please be advised that Hamilton returns to the stage for live performances at the Orpheum Theater. What: Hamilton

07/22/2021

Taxi Services Meter and a half Survey June 2021

The SFMTA Taxi Services division discarded the previous survey results and sent an updated one Wednesday afternoon. See the below explanation and then click on the link:

"Updated Taxi Meter and a Half Survey.

SFMTA has received feedback from the industry indicating that some survey respondents may have incorrectly ranked their choices in the recent Meter and a Half survey. The original survey results will not be considered.

Please complete this relaunched survey http://SFMTA.com/LongTripSurvey.

To ensure that your opinion is properly recorded, please rank your choices pursuant to the scale listed below:
1 is the most desirable and 5 is the least desirable.
1 es el más deseable y 5 es el menos deseable.
1 是最理想的,5 是最不理想的
Цифрой 1 следует отметить наиболее предпочтительный вариант, а цифрой 5 - наименее предпочтительный.
1 là kỳ-vọng nhất và 5 là ít kỳ-vọng nhất.
Ang 1 ay Pinakanais-nais at 5 ang pinakamalit na Kanais-nais.
ከፍተኛው ምርጥ ደረጃ 1 ሲሆን 5 ደግሞ ዝቅተኛው ነው።
እቲ ዝለዓለን ዝተመርጸን 1 እንትኸውን 5 ከኣ እቲ ዝተሓተ እዩ።"

Taxi Services Meter and a half Survey June 2021 Taxi Services Meter and a half Survey June 2021.

S. Van Ness at Mission Intersection to be Closed August 4-9 07/18/2021

S. Van Ness at Mission Intersection to be Closed August 4-9

"The South Van Ness Avenue at Mission Street intersection will be closed to all traffic Wednesday, August 4, 6:00 a.m., through Monday, August 9, 6:00 a.m. As part of the Van Ness Improvement Project, we will be replacing the roadway on South Van Ness Avenue at Mission Street. Closing the intersection for five days allows us to complete inconvenient and disruptive work that would otherwise require two months of work done in segments."

S. Van Ness at Mission Intersection to be Closed August 4-9 The South Van Ness Avenue at Mission Street intersection will be closed to all traffic Wednesday, August 4, 6:00 a.m., through Monday, August 9, 6:00 a.m. As part of the Van Ness Improvement Project, we will be replacing the roadway on South Van Ness Avenue at Mission Street. Closing the intersectio...

[07/17/21]   BREAKING FROM THE SFMTA:
"Dear Taxi Industry Members,

The SFO Taxi Fee Pass-Through will be heard at the SFMTA Board meeting on July 20, 2021. Staff is proposing to amend the Transportation Code to allow taxi drivers to pass-through 100% of the access fee that SFO charges for taxicab trips originating at SFO. You may view the agenda at Board of Directors meeting, July 20, 2021 | SFMTA.

Also, Taxi Services is also still accepting feedback on proposed Transportation Code amendments that have been discussed over the past three months at our digital outreach meetings. The most recent red-line version of the Transportation Code amendments, Article 1100 is linked here. If you would like to make comments about the draft amendments, please email [email protected].

Thank you."

Meter and a Half Survey Update 2021.07.15 07/15/2021

Meter and a Half Survey Update 2021.07.15

LATEST FROM THE SFMTA regarding the 1.5-meter survey!

The results of the original survey are being discarded.
https://www.sfmta.com/notices/meter-and-half-survey-update-20210715

Meter and a Half Survey Update 2021.07.15 TO: San Francisco Taxi Drivers, Medallion Holders, Color Scheme ManagersSFMTA has received feedback from the industry indicating that some survey respondents may have incorrectly ranked their choices in the recent Meter and a Half survey.

General Drivers Meeting 07/14/21 07/14/2021

General Drivers Meeting 07/14/21

The General Drivers Meeting begins in an hour..

https://www.sftwa.org/general_meeting_07_14_21

General Drivers Meeting 07/14/21 SF Taxi Workers Alliance is hosting a General Drivers Meeting on Wednesday July 14 at 6:00 pm. with guests from NY and LA. All drivers are welcome! Join us!

General Drivers Meeting 07/14/21 07/12/2021

General Drivers Meeting 07/14/21

https://www.sftwa.org/general_meeting_07_14_21

General Drivers Meeting 07/14/21 SF Taxi Workers Alliance is hosting a General Drivers Meeting on Wednesday July 14 at 6:00 pm. with guests from NY and LA. All drivers are welcome! Join us!

07/08/2021

LaborFest | Labor Maritime History Boat Tour

Ruach Graffis will be honored that evening.
https://laborfest.net/event/labor-maritime-history-boat-tour-2/

LaborFest | Labor Maritime History Boat Tour 5:45 boarding, 6:00 PM departure Boat leaves promptly at 6:00 PM (Boat can’t wait because of the gate schedule, so please arrive there at least 30 minutes before the boarding time to allow yourself time to locate the correct gate. The gate for our boat most likely be gate 3, however, it may change...

[07/06/21]   The Airport Commission this morning unanimously approved the delay in charging the $5.50 SFO trip free until 15 days after the SFMTA Board of Directors adopts the new pass-through language. They amended the resolution to say the AIRPORT COMMISSION and staff will revisit the fee increase if the SFMTA Board doesn't approve the new pass-through fee at its July 20 meeting.

Barry Taranto also thanked Landside Operations staff and the Commission for delaying the $1 increase for the trip fee until the new language is adopted by the SFMTA board.

Photos from San Francisco Taxi Workers Alliance's post 07/01/2021

Photos from San Francisco Taxi Workers Alliance's post

[07/01/21]   On the Airport Commission agenda this Tuesday, July 6 at 9 a.m.:

"ACTION ITEMS RELATING TO ADMINISTRATION, OPERATIONS &
MAINTENANCE:

2. Retroactive Amendment of Fiscal Year 2021/22 Airport Rates and Charges

Resolution amending the Fiscal Year 2021/22 Airport Rates and Charges, with retroactive effect to July 1, 2021, to delay the effective date of the $1.00 increase in the Ground Transportation Access Fee payable by taxis"

Federal Provisions for Unemployment | California EDD 06/29/2021

Federal Provisions for Unemployment | California EDD

Unemployment insurance update:
https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019/cares-act.htm

Federal Provisions for Unemployment | California EDD Federal CARES Act provisions to expand unemployment benefits: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, Pandemic Additional Compensation

06/18/2021

Recording of TRIBUTE TO RUACH GRAFFIS on Thursday, June 17, 2021 using the Zoom videoconferencing platform.
Click on the Link below and then enter the PASSCODE when and where requested.
https://zoom.us/rec/share/S9pTGsaqM1YlayVTqDkS1Qdjb9rfS7yPaPh7VukIFm6_0-M7EoFeklq23O2ns7ao.xe5NE9uQ58BWy4Ph Passcode:
&^3*i?ry

Recording of TRIBUTE TO RUACH GRAFFIS on Thursday, June 17, 2021 using the Zoom videoconferencing platform.
Click on the Link below and then enter the PASSCODE when and where requested.
https://zoom.us/rec/share/S9pTGsaqM1YlayVTqDkS1Qdjb9rfS7yPaPh7VukIFm6_0-M7EoFeklq23O2ns7ao.xe5NE9uQ58BWy4Ph Passcode:
&^3*i?ry

[06/17/21]   Please join us TODAY to remember Ruach Graffis, a long-time cab driver and member of SFTWA’s Executive Board, who passed away on May 21. This will be an virtual event using Zoom. For your convenience, the Zoom link and call-in phone numbers are below.

Ruach was active in the San Francisco taxi industry for close to 50 years. We’ll share our memories of her as a teacher, friend, and fellow cab driver, but most of all, as a tireless advocate for drivers, passengers with disabilities, and all workers struggling for dignity and respect.

All are welcome. Let us be inspired by her spirit and dedication.

Topic: TRIBUTE TO RUACH GRAFFIS organized by San Francisco Taxi Workers Alliance

Time: Jun 17, 2021 06:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/95621128180?pwd=T1l1UG1wdS9aZitLK3BTaXFuQ2thdz09
Meeting ID: 956 2112 8180
Passcode: 156433

One tap mobile for iOS
+14086380968,,95621128180#,,,,*156433# US (San Jose)
+16699006833,,95621128180#,,,,*156433# US (San Jose)
Or dial by your location (use your cell phone or toll charges may apply)
+1 408 638 0968 US (San Jose)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)

Meeting ID: 956 2112 8180
Passcode: 156433

Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/acF4mydIXn

If you dial in, press:
*6 to mute or unmute yourself
*9 to raise your hand to speak

If you have any questions about using Zoom, leave a message for us at 415-534-5221 soon so we have time to reply. If you want to let us know you're coming, you may RSVP on our website here, but you are welcome to just show up as well.

Feel free to share this post with Ruach’s colleagues and friends. We also hope to sponsor an in-person tribute to her later this summer.

Thank you for joining us.

San Francisco Taxi Workers Alliance
http://www.sftwa.org/

Debate over Great Highway’s closure represents a much larger San Francisco problem - The San Francisco Examiner 06/11/2021

Debate over Great Highway’s closure represents a much larger San Francisco problem - The San Francisco Examiner

Where do you stand on keeping this major north-south route closed?

Debate over Great Highway’s closure represents a much larger San Francisco problem - The San Francisco Examiner Last month, a sign appeared in the window of the popular Outer Sunset bakery Devil’s Teeth. “Open the Great Highway,” it read simply. Social media outrage ensued, with some threatening to boycott the business altogether.

Taxi Medallion Crisis Drives Council Candidates on Road Toward a Rescue 06/03/2021

Taxi Medallion Crisis Drives Council Candidates on Road Toward a Rescue

Taxi Medallion Crisis Drives Council Candidates on Road Toward a Rescue Some seeking office have been shaped by family suffering in the yellow-cab medallion financial collapse — or their own experiences driving cabs. They say only a bold bailout will avoid calamity.

[06/03/21]   LIUNA Local 261 is hosting a walk-in vaccine clinic for anyone 12 years old and up on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11 AM to 12 PM at 3271 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110.

If you've already been vaccinated please help spread the word to others who may still need to be.

WHAT: Walk-In Vaccine Clinic for all 12 and up
WHEN: Thurs, June 3rd; Friday, June 4th; and Saturday, June 5th from 11 AM - 12 PM
WHERE: LIUNA Local 261: 3271 18th Street, San Francisco

-- SF Labor Council Team

[06/03/21]   Overnight Construction at T1 and T2 in SFO
Effective Date Wednesday, June 2, 2021 - 9:00am
News categories Taxi Industry
On the morning of Friday, June 4 (Thursday night), the taxi stands at T1 and T2 will relocate to the inner curb during open lot hours to accommodate road work. You may not join these temporary taxi stands during open lot hours if 2 or more cabs are already staged there. On Friday morning curbside staff will relocate the taxi stands to the center island, starting at about 06:30. Do not stage at the center island until the relocation is completed by staff on Friday morning.

Please contact the curbside management office at 650-821-2700 with any questions.

Seth Morgan
Senior Transportation Planner
SFO Landside Operations

[06/03/21]   The SFMTA Board of Directors adjourned its meeting on Tuesday, June 1, 2021, in honor of Rusch Graffis.

Message to the Paratransit Coordinating Council from Annette Williams and Kate Toran:

"PCC members and friends,
Wanted to share with you some sad news. Ruach Graffis, our long term PCC member and both taxi and disability community advocate, passed away last week after much time battling health challenges. She died on her terms with friends surrounding her. We will miss her!

I’m sad I didn’t get to say a personal good bye and let her now her impact on those around her. It’s taken me quite a few days to warp my head around her passing and accept this truth. I know our world will be less, without her feisty, and always loving, sprit in it. She was unfailingly, genuinely happy to see us and to share her well thought out opinions, at any opportunity.

My best to all of you this Memorial Day weekend.

Below is an acknowledgment about Ruach, written by Kate Toran which will be shared at the SFMTA board meeting on Tuesday.

Like her chosen name, which means wind, spirit- like soul, and also exuberance, rowdy determination and fighting spirit, Ruach Graffis has left her imprint on the San Francisco taxi industry.


Ruach, a long time taxi driver, taxi driver trainer and Paratransit Coordinating Council member passed away on May 21.

Over the course of her five decade long career in the taxi industry, Ruach was a fierce advocate for the dignity of drivers and passengers with disabilities, with personal understanding of both perspectives.

She trained countless taxi drivers on the intricacies of SF geography, the importance of customer service and her passion for her work was palpable and transferred to her students.

Ruach had a sharp wit and deep wisdom; she always had a smile and a greeting for everyone with a sparkle in her eye.

Her fighting spirit is still with us in the pride of drivers for those quiet moments in the cab, after having delivered a much needed trip to a tourist or a Paratransit customer.
We are honored to convene this meeting in Ruach’s memory.

Take good care,
Annette"

The great taxicab in the sky - The San Francisco Examiner 05/28/2021

The great taxicab in the sky - The San Francisco Examiner

Kelly Dessaint dedicated his Examiner column this week to the life and death of Ruach Graffis, long-time taxicab driver, teacher and advocate for all workers.

The great taxicab in the sky - The San Francisco Examiner Mentor Ruach Graffis led her life, and ended it, with dignity

Ruach Graffis, legendary SF cab driver and organizer, is dead at 74 | 48 hills 05/28/2021

Ruach Graffis, legendary SF cab driver and organizer, is dead at 74 | 48 hills

Thank you, Christopher Cook for the wonderful tribute.

https://48hills.org/2021/05/ruach-graffis-legendary-sf-cab-driver-and-organizer-is-dead-at-74/

Ruach Graffis, legendary SF cab driver and organizer, is dead at 74 | 48 hills Labor activist ends her life with dignity, surrounded by friends.

SFTWA 05/24/2021

SFTWA

Ruach Graffis, a long-time San Francisco cab driver and a member of SFTWA’s Executive Board, ended her life Friday by self-administering legally-prescribed drugs. She was suffering from terminal lung and heart disease and was given only a short time to live. She died peacefully at home, surrounded by friends.

Ruach was involved in the San Francisco taxi industry for close to 50 years, some 40 of them as a driver. She was a major force in several taxi driver organizations, including United Taxicab Workers and SFTWA. In 1997-98, she was a member of Mayor Willie Brown’s Taxi Task Force, chaired by then-Supervisor Gavin Newsom, and also served on San Francisco’s Sunshine Ordinance Task Force. She taught a course for new cab drivers for 20 years, first at San Francisco City College and then through the Taxi Driver Institute, which she started and ran.

Ruach was an oversize person with an oversize personality. She had a wicked sense of humor and a beautiful, powerful singing voice. She’d considered becoming an opera singer, and performed many times at Labor rallies and events. She was a wealth of historical fact, especially about San Francisco and the Labor movement. Although she had numerous interests, she dedicated herself wholeheartedly to the causes that mattered to her most – among them, the condition of workers in general and cab drivers in particular.

She had a major hand in many victories on behalf of taxi drivers, including the passage of San Francisco’s first taxi safety law, the approval of a cap on cab companies’ gate charges, and the defeat of four ballot measures designed to amend or replace Proposition K of 1978, the law that allowed cab drivers to obtain taxi medallions for the price of an application fee.

No one in our industry fought longer and harder to defend and protect cab drivers’ rights and interests. She is, simply, irreplaceable.

SFTWA will commemorate Ruach’s life in an online memorial, on a date to be announced.

San Francisco Taxi Workers Alliance
http://www.sftwa.org/

SFTWA The SFTWA / AFL-CIO

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