Union Cab quietly goes non-union

Union Cab, the cooperative taxi company that launched in Portland in 2013 with support from the Oregon AFL-CIO, is no longer union-affiliated. Under state and federal law, taxi owner-operators are considered independent contractors without a legally protected right to unionize. The owner-drivers of Union Cab started out as voluntary associate members of Communications Workers of America Local 7901, but dues payments were irregular and eventually stopped being paid altogether.

The company’s web site still says it’s “owned and operated by the drivers who are union members,” and says it’s affiliated with CWA Local 7901, but a union officer and a company dispatcher confirmed that’s no longer in fact the case.

Reached by phone, Union Cab general manager Traci Sivongxay said she couldn’t say whether the company is union-affiliated or not, and twice emailed the coop’s board about it, but got no response. A month’s worth of emails and phone calls got no further response confirming that the drivers are no longer union-affiliated, nor explanation as to why.

2 Comments on Union Cab quietly goes non-union

  1. Wow. I’m the first to respond?
    Would like to know: what cab companies are still unionized in town? Want to know where to spend my $. #pro_union

    • Hi Josh. I understand that dispatchers at Radio Cab and at Broadway Cab are represented by the Teamsters, but there are no union-member cab drivers in Portland now. Under Oregon law, cab drivers have been considered independent contractors for many years. And under federal labor law, independent contractors don’t have a legally protected right to join a union; they could join a union, but the employer wouldn’t have any legal obligation to recognize it. The Union Cab driver-owners were only ever voluntary “associate” members of CWA, and didn’t have a collective bargaining agreement like regular union members do.

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