Announcement. Workers: City Cab Is Sympathetic.

…just not enough to advocate to pay you closer to a living wage.

Jaison Chand (full disclosure – a former boss) wants you to know that he is sympathetic to you minimum wage worker (see Sunday’s TS add below).  His advise – live in a back room of a body shop – work multiple jobs – and stick with the one that makes it.

Like many others, Jaison had to make it through difficult times and struggle to make it where he is today.  Sincere kudos Mr. Chand.  You are another HumCo success story.  May there be many others.

Of course this apology for City Cab which is basically announcing a $1.50 cab fare raise or reduced services to the elderly and disabled if you choose to vote to give Eureka workers a living wage.

Unfortunately, as many who has had meetings with Jaison may have experienced, this is not all of the truth.  Here are some portions of his piece I would dispute.

  • Your boss, Fred, is not a greedy fat cat – no one is saying from Yes On R.  But Fred Sunquist did not have to live the hard-scrabble life you did.  His family’s wealth gave him and his siblings a little head start to be the revered job creator and community booster he is today.  This is definitively not about envy, but it is about the two Americas John Edwards was speaking about.  I do not wish for myself or my community members for the status symbol cars or homes or property or wealth – what I do wish for all of us – including you, Fred and your families is an ability to earn a living if you work hard – a living that will earn you things like ownership of a home, college for your children, health coverage that won’t necessitate a fire sale at the end of one’s life, etc.   Obviously Measure R doesn’t do all of this, but it is a step in the right direction.
  • What about competition?  If your business model is no longer affordable, where you have to threaten the voting public with a $1.50 raise if R is passed, what if City Cab would work with the city to provide choice in cab service?  This would allow more owners.  There are many opportunities here with the advances of technology – services such as Uber, etc.  Is there City, County, or State regulations we could change that would allow other companies with perhaps a different business model?
  • Back to the threats.  Don’t you find it a little sickening to the stomach that if services paid for by our community and society for the special care of a population in need – like the transportation of our elderly and disabled – isn’t it sickening if the people doing that work don’t get what can be considered to be a living wage?  So yes, let’s continue these services and let’s pay the employees appropriately.  If we can’t, then let’s make sure in the next election we do things to increase public spending appropriately for the care of the elderly and disable – things like removing the disgraceful cap on Medicare/Medicaid taxes at earnings.
  • Measure R is not strictly about the minimum rage, which is why your rhetorical questions at the beginning of your piece are only that – rhetorical.  I’m sure I’m speaking for all the Fair Wage Folks when I say we’d love to pass a measure county wide and for all employers and for a higher minimum wage, but this is what is currently politically feasible.  It is not about WalMart or McDonalds or even City Ambulance/City Cab.  It’s about their employees – people who are not getting a fair wage for their work given that the employment market is flooded with people looking for jobs.  There will always be another worker willing to work on an unsustainable income because there will always be someone either with less costs or in an even more dire situation.  The people willing to work for their money deserve to earn a living too.
  • What measure R is about is collective bargaining.  This means we should all – including employers – be encouraging employees to collectively bargain for our contracts.  If this became the norm again, we may begin to turn back the incredible national inequity that, we can see manifest even at City Ambulance.  This quote is from Mitch Trachtenburg who seems to be the only person touting this important and overlooked section of the measure.

Anyone who has read the Eureka Fair Wage Act ought to know that section123.05 says that if an employer and their employees conclude that it would be in their mutual best interest to waive the $12 minimum, after the employees inspect their employer’s books, they can waive the minimum.

What this means is that no business will close as a result of this act, unless the employer is unwilling to tell their minimum-wage employees how profitable the business is, or unless the employer open their books but the employees decide their wages are unreasonable, given the business’ profit margin.

No On R

What this is really all about, what Jaison is unwilling to write about is City Cab’s unwillingness to allow employees to collectively bargain.  As one who has tried, they work hard and proactively to instill fear in their workers against any attempts to disrupt, let’s admit it, a neo-feudal system set up once one enters and exits City Ambulance/City Cab’s property as an employee.

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8 thoughts on “Announcement. Workers: City Cab Is Sympathetic.

  1. Tames says:

    You leave out something very important. City Cab had the Teamsters and the City Ambulance had SEIU. The employees petitioned to get rid of the unions. That’s what happens in good companies. The employees don’t want to pay dues to have someone else strip them of their ability to achieve as individuals.

    1. Tames – how many employees who were there for that vote are still there? Do you dispute that as of at least 2 years ago, many, if not most employees did not feel comfortable speaking openly about unions?

      1. Tames says:

        I don’t have an answer to that question. My guess is not a bunch. I’m thinking they are fairly transient since taxi driving is an entry level job. What did you do to get a union back in there and what did management do to stop you?

  2. Mary Ella Anderson says:

    The war on unions actually started right after WWII. Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront, the movie that made Marlon Brando a big star, was part of that. There were corrupt unions, but unions were ultimately under the control of the union members which made them democratic, as opposed to the corporations where workers had no voice. When media consolidation took hold, the war on unions revved up to scare people away from having any good thing to say about unions. It started with the Air Traffic Controllers, went on to the post office (and continues today against the post office) and now the teachers and government employees. The idea that we’re all better off if people make less money and have no say in their workplace has gained total traction and most people believe things that aren’t true, beliefs for which there is no evidence. Low wages hurt everyone and do not help the economy. Anyone paying attention will have noted that prices have continually gone up while wages have been stagnant. Prices will continue to go up without wage increases. But low wages mean fewer jobs, fewer customers, more demand for public services like food assistance and health care. Media is powerful and people’s perceptions have been altered by it.

  3. Bob says:

    How much does Jaison make a year? He’s so willing to talk about his co-workers low pay rates to the public, why doesn’t he man up and tell us all how much he makes.

  4. Tames says:

    Who knows, but he said “significantly more”. Then again, he has like 4 jobs and runs several businesses. He said he started there at minimum wage. Like John said, more power to him for achieving. I know a bunch of employees over there and they are pretty happy with their company.

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