Taxi sign

Misfits versus City Hall – Part 3

Continued from last week’s issue of What’s Up Yukon. Part 1 and Part 2 available online.

The next morning, about a third of the population were greeted with two options: stay home or get some unexpected exercise. The telephones at town hall were definitely getting a workout. The dispatchers were earning their money, dealing with customers who were not amused. Our message was delivered loud and clear with an enormous amount of discipline. The town was obviously getting legal advice, and waiting to see if we had staying power.
Before we knew it, our first day was in the books. All four companies agreed everything went better than expected. By the second day, we started to fall into a routine. The four different taxis would park together and talk for awhile, a few times per shift. We were no longer competitors, we were working as a team. We could only park for a short time, because it would have been awkward if a customer had come along and tried to hire one of us. Our goal was to stay visible, but away from potential customers. We put a lot of effort into making sure we didn’t irritate our customers. Long before Walmart started using the slogan we understood, “Who’s number one? The customer.”
It wasn’t until the second evening that I experienced the first hiccup. I was riding shotgun with a different driver than the night before. He informed me that he was going to visit a friend at a party. I decided to go into the party with him. Being a total abstainer, I looked like a stick in the mud very quickly. This party was the full meal deal, they seemed to have almost as much booze as the liquor store, and there was enough weird smoke from weird tabacky to almost set off the smoke detector.
I stuck it out for well over an hour, then I went looking for my partner. I found Buddy in the next room and I could see immediately that he had taken advantage of the full meal deal. He was completely pickled. I don’t think he knew me, or where he was. I called Buddy’s dispatcher and told her to fire up another taxi and send someone over to pick me up.
I rode shotgun for a few more hours with another driver, and then we called it a day. Day two was over. We had no professional knowledge to measure if our action had been effective. We only had a blind belief we would win. Around mid-morning on the third day, we started to hear through the grapevine that there was some progress with the town. A few hours later, we got the news.
After sixty plus hours, the town all of a sudden came to the conclusion that a dollar minimum was reasonable. Contrary to the old adage “You can’t fight City Hall,” we had – and we’d won.
It’s a funny thing being young: we came to the conclusion, “Well that wasn’t so difficult.” Within three days we had long forgotten what we pulled off and never talked about it again. We never realized if we had made a few mistakes, it would have turned into bitter disappointment. From the view of the twenty-first century, getting a twenty five cent raise sounds like peanuts. The fact is we received a thirty three percent raise in pay- show me a union negotiator that wouldn’t kill for results like that.
Bottom line is, a bunch of misfits had accidentally done a lot of things right.


Misfits versus City Hall – Part 1


Misfits versus City Hall – Part 2


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