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Guide to the Taxi Rank and File Coalition Records WAG.139

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630
tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Gregory Raml

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 15, 2018
English

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Taxi Rank and File Coalition
Source - dnr: Ravitz, Joyce
Source - dnr: Zeiger, Henry
Source - dnr: Seltzer, Steven
Title: Taxi Rank and File Coalition Records
Dates [inclusive]: 1956-1993
Dates [bulk]: 1971-1987
Abstract: The Taxi Rank and File Coalition (TRFC), an organized group of disenchanted members of the New York City Taxi Drivers Union, Local 3036 was formed on April 15, 1971 in response to efforts by the leadership of the union and the taxi fleet owners to ratify a contract without a membership vote. For nearly seven years, the Coalition fought for a fair contract, better working conditions and a more democratic union. Members opposed what they saw as the autocracy of the founder of the union, Harry Van Arsdale, Jr. The materials in this collection include legal documents, flyers, newsletters, minutes, notes, press releases, correspondence, clippings, conference reports, health committee surveys and songbooks relating to the political and cultural activities of the Taxi Rank and File Coalition. Also included are some materials relating to Taxi Drivers Union Local 3036 and to successor organizations of the TRFC.
Quantity: 3 Linear Feet (3 boxes)
Language: Materials are in English
Call Phrase: WAG.139

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Historical/Biographical Note

The Taxi Rank and File Coalition (TRFC), an organized group of disenchanted members of the New York City Taxi Drivers Union, Local 3036 was formed on April 15, 1971 in response to efforts by the leadership of the union and the taxi fleet owners to ratify a contract without a membership vote. For nearly seven years, the Coalition fought for a fair contract, better working conditions and a more democratic union. Members opposed what they saw as the autocracy of the founder of the union, Harry Van Arsdale, Jr.

TRFC ran a full slate of candidates in the 1971 election, polling a consistent third of the vote throughout the city. In response to alleged corruption, the Coalition filed complaints of over thirty counts of fraud with the Department of Labor. In 1972, the union leadership agreed to binding arbitration of the 1970 contract without a ratification vote in direct violation of the union constitution. TRFC filed a federal lawsuit against the union leadership and won a 1974 court order guaranteeing membership certain rights in ratifying collective bargaining agreements. The union executive board illegally refused to hold elections for garage chairmen and committeemen in 1972 and 1973, claiming lack of funds. In 1974, after yearly appeals to the union leadership failed, TRFC presented 2,500 signatures for the restoration of the committee elections and won a favorable ruling in court. The subsequent elections were marred with irregularities. On May 14 and 15, 1974 TRFC led a strike at the Dover Garage for unfair dismissals. After the dismissed won their jobs back, TRFC fought the proposed fair hike of the Taxi Commission. The Coalition openly supported a radical ideology in the Hot Seat, and on the shop floor.

In addition to running shop elections and initiating several lawsuits against the union leadership, the Coalition focused on the internal development of their organization. TRFC established a health committee, conducted a research project into the history and economics of the industry and organized study groups on the history of the labor movement, focusing on issues pertinent to the industry, such as racism, leasing and gypsy cabs. They published a songbook of original taxi songs and developed a skit that members performed at taxi garages and demonstrations. Their newspaper, Hot Seat, ran for 44 issues with a peak circulation of 10,000.

In July of 1977, the Coalition failed to run a slate of candidates in the election and ended publication of the Hot Seat. As the size of the taxi industry fleet shrank, many members left the union to find work elsewhere and the Coalition ceased to function as a citywide organization. Members of TRFC expressed their regret for not achieving greater victories in the fight against the established leaders of the union and cited their frustrations and fatigue in the fight for a more democratic union. In the fall of 1979, Steve Seltzer and Henry Zeiger, former members of TRFC, organized a successor group, Taxi Workers against a Sellout (TWAS), which continued to oppose the union leadership by campainging their own slate of candidates in subsequent elections. TWAS filed a lawsuit against the union for violating the 1974 court order.

In 1978, the union transferred afflilation to the Service Employees International Union and became the Taxi Drivers and Allied Workers Union, Local 3036, SEIU.

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Scope and Content Note

The materials in this collection include legal documents, flyers, newsletters, minutes, notes, press releases, correspondence, clippings, conference reports, health committee surveys and songbooks relating to the political and cultural activities of the Taxi Rank and File Coalition. As members of the New York City Taxi Drivers Union, Local 3036, the Coalition ran in several shop and citywide elections to expand rank and file bargaining rights. The bulk of the materials focus on these campaigns and the subsequent legal battles against the entrenched union leadership and taxi fleet owners. In 1974, the Coalition openly espoused a radical ideology and a small number of materials reflect their emerging radicalization and encounters with outside taxi unions and socialist organizations around the country. The collection also includes financial records of Local 3036 and taxi Industry benefit funds and some papers of successor organizations, Taxi Workers against a Sellout and the Lease Drivers Defense Fund.

Arrangement

Files are arranged alphabetically.

Organized into 1 series:

I, General Files, 1956-1993.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Seltzer, Steven
  • Van Arsdale, Harry, 1905-1986
  • Zeiger, Henry
  • Ravitz, Joyce
  • Zeiger, Henry
  • Seltzer, Steven

Subject Organizations

  • New York City Taxi Drivers Union, Local 3036
  • Taxi Drivers and Allied Workers Union. Local 3036, SEIU
  • Taxi Rank and File Coalition
  • United States. National Labor Relations Board

Subject Topics

  • Taxicab drivers -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Labor union democracy -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Taxicab drivers -x Labor unions -- New York (State) -- New York.

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by the Taxi Rank and File Coalition were transferred to New York University in 2001 by Steven Seltzer. Permission to publish or reproduce materials in this collection must be secured from Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Archives. Please contact tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu, (212) 998-2630.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date; Collection name; Collection number; box number; folder number;
Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.

Related Material at the Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Taxi Rank and File Coalition Oral History Collection (OH 013)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Joyce Ravitz and Henry Zeiger in 1991. Additional donations made by Steven Seltzer in 2001 and 2004. The accession numbers associated with these gifts are 1978.006, NPA.2000.259, and NPA.2001.078.

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Container List

Series I, General Files, 1956-1993., 1956-1993

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Ann Service Garage
undated; 1976
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Arbitration: Dover Garage II and New York City Taxi Drivers Union, Local 3036, et al.: Grievances
1974
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Arbitration: Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade and New York City Taxi Drivers Union, Local 3036: Safety Check
1970
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Arbitration: New York City Taxi Drivers Union, Local 3036 and Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade: Disciplinary Action and Termination
1974-1977
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Arbitration: New York City Taxi Drivers Union, Local 3036 and Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade: Lease Arrangements
1974
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Arbitration: New York City Taxi Drivers Union, Local 3036 and Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade: Shift Extensions
1977
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Back Bay Taxi Drivers Association (Boston, MA)
1974; 1976
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Bargaining
undated; 1967-1970
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Bargaining
1971-1975
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Bargaining
1976-1978
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Bargaining (I)
1979-1981
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Bargaining (II)
1979-1981
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Bargaining
1983
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Bargaining
1987
Box: 1 Folder : 15 Bargaining: Arbitration: Award for Contract
1973
Box: 1 Folder : 16 Butler Garage
1972
Box: 1 Folder : 17 CFC: Centers for Change Newsletter (with taxi article)
1973
Box: 1 Folder : 18 Clippings
undated; 1970-1975; 1980
Box: 1 Folder : 19 Clippings: Pensions
undated; 1978; 1984
Box: 1 Folder : 20 Clippings: Service Employees International Union
1979-1982
Box: 1 Folder : 21 Clippings: Strike
1971-1976
Box: 1 Folder : 22 Coalition of Arlington Taxidrivers (Virginia): Newsletters
1976
Box: 1 Folder : 23 Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW)
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 24 Conference: Cultural Workshop
Jan 11, 1975
Box: 1 Folder : 25 Conference: Hard Times
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 26 Conference: Minis
Spring 1976
Box: 1 Folder : 27 Conference: Organization
May 5, 1973
Box: 1 Folder : 28 Conference: Rank and File Program
Nov 3, 1973
Box: 1 Folder : 29 Conference: Retreat
Summer 1976
Box: 1 Folder : 30 Conference: Strategy
Feb 12, 1974
Box: 1 Folder : 31 Constitution (New York City Taxi Drivers Union, Local 3036)
1966-1978
Box: 1 Folder : 32 Constitution (Taxi Drivers and Allied Workers Union, Local 3036, SEIU)
1978-1985
Box: 1 Folder : 33 Constitution: Amendments
1970-1982
Box: 1 Folder : 34 Constitution: Clippings
1967-1978
Box: 1 Folder : 35 Cooper Square Development Committee
1965-1966; 1970
Box: 1 Folder : 36 Correspondence: General
undated; 1972-1983
Box: 1 Folder : 37 Correspondence: Hot Seat (Newsletter)
undated; 1970-1977
Box: 1 Folder : 38 Cruising Ban
1973-1974
Box: 1 Folder : 39 Cultural Activities: Proposal
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 40 Dover Garage
1973-1977
Box: 1 Folder : 41 Dover Garage: Questionnaires
1976
Box: 1 Folder : 42 Drivers Solidarity Coalition (San Francisco, CA)
1974
Box: 1 Folder : 43 Elections
1966
Box: 1 Folder : 44 Elections
1967
Box: 1 Folder : 45 Elections
1971
Box: 1 Folder : 46 Elections
1972-1973
Box: 1 Folder : 47 Elections
1974
Box: 1 Folder : 48 Elections
1975
Box: 1 Folder : 49 Elections
1977
Box: 1 Folder : 50 Elections (I)
1980
Box: 1 Folder : 51 Elections (II)
1980
Box: 1 Folder : 52 Elections
1983
Box: 1 Folder : 53 Elections
1989
Box: 1 Folder : 54 Elections: Arbitration: Certification of Results
1966
Box: 1 Folder : 55 Elections: Arbitration: Thomas Iandoli - Charles Petses Slate
1974
Box: 1 Folder : 56 Elections: Clippings
1974-1989
Box: 1 Folder : 57 Endorsements
undated; 1978; 1980; 1982
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Fare Hikes
1964; 1972-1976
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Fare Hikes: Clippings
1974-1975
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Finances (New York City Taxi Drivers Union, Local 3036)
1969-1986
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Finances: Annual Reports (New York City Taxi Drivers Union, Local 3036)
1967-1988; 1992-1993
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Finances: Annuity Plan (New York City Taxi Drivers Union, Local 3036)
1974-1982
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Finances: General Fund Statements (New York City Taxi Drivers Union, Local 3036)
1966-1976
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Finances: Taxicab Industry Health and Welfare Fund
1977-1986
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Finances: Taxicab Industry Pension Fund
1966-1986
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Finances: Taxicab Industry Pension Fund Reports
1974; 1976-1983
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Finances: Taxicab Industry Pension Fund Reports
1983-1990
Box: 2 Folder : 11 Finances: Taxicab Industry Scholarship Fund
1976-1977
Box: 2 Folder : 12 Finances: Taxicab Industry Training and Educational Fund
1982-1986
Box: 2 Folder : 13 Finances: Taxicab Industry Vacation Fund
1974; 1976-1977
Box: 2 Folder : 14 Fleetworkers Committee
1973-1974
Box: OS004 Flyers
1970-1978
Box: 2 Folder : 15
Box: 2 Folder : 16 General Membership Meeting (New York City Taxi Drivers Union, Local 3036)
1972;1982
Box: 2 Folder : 17 Grievances
undated; 1975-1976
Box: 2 Folder : 18 Guild of Taxi Drivers and Associated Workers (Minneapolis, MN)
1975-1977
Box: 2 Folder : 19 Gypsies
1969-1978
Box: 2 Folder : 20 Health Committee: Health Tests
1974-1975
Box: 2 Folder : 21 History: Taxi Organizing
undated; 1971; 1973; 1976
Box: 2 Folder : 22 Hodgson, James; Secretary of Labor v. New York City Taxi Drivers Union, Local 3036
1969; 1971
Box: 2 Folder : 23 Independent Drivers Association (Denver, CO)
1975
Box: 2 Folder : 24 International Brotherhood of Teamsters: Taxi Organizing
undated; 1956; 1976
Box: 2 Folder : 25 International Socialists: David Katz Article on Taxi Wildcat
1971
Box: 2 Folder : 26 Lease Drivers Defense Fund (I)
1983-1987
Box: 2 Folder : 27 Lease Drivers Defense Fund (II)
1983-1987
Box: 2 Folder : 28 Leasing
1974
Box: 2 Folder : 29 March 2nd Coalition: Planning Meeting
1974
Box: 2 Folder : 30 May Day Events
1973; 1975
Box: 2 Folder : 31 Minutes: Membership and Steering Committee
1972-1976
Box: 2 Folder : 32 National Caucus of Labor Committees
1972-1976
Box: 2 Folder : 33 National Labor Relations Board: Complaint of John Gordan v. Dover Garage II
1976
Box: 2 Folder : 34 National Labor Relations Board: Complaint of Judith Balchan and Steven Seltzer v. Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, et al.
1980-1981
Box: 2 Folder : 35 National Labor Relations Board: Complaint of William Orleans v. Columbia Operating Co.
1973
Box: 2 Folder : 36 National Labor Relations Board: Complaints of Taxi Rank and File Coalition v. New York City Taxi Drivers Union, Local 3036 (I)
1975-1977
Box: 2 Folder : 37 National Labor Relations Board: Complaints of Taxi Rank and File Coalition v. New York City Taxi Drivers Union, Local 3036 (II)
1975-1977
Box: 2 Folder : 38 National Labor Relations Board: Various Cases
1974-1976
Box: 2 Folder : 39 New York City Taxi Drivers Union, Local 3036: Correspondence
1972-1973; 1982
Box: 2 Folder : 40 New York City Taxi Drivers Union, Local 3036: Flyers and Bulletins
1971-1976
Box: 2 Folder : 41 Newark Airport Cab Driver's Bulletin
1974
Box: 2 Folder : 42 Newsletters (Taxi)
1972-1976
Box: 2 Folder : 43 Newsletters: Down at Dover
1975-1978
Box: 2 Folder : 44 Newsletters: Fare Share (Ann Garage)
1971-1972; 1976
Box: 2 Folder : 45 Newsletters: Hot Seat
1973-1976
Box: 2 Folder : 46 Newsletters: Trafic (Taxi Rank and File Internal Communication)
1976-1977
Box: 3 Folder : 1 November 4 Coalition
1973
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Oral History Project: Guidelines
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Paladino, Angelo v. Taxicab Industry Pension Fund, et al.
1983
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Petitions
1971-1975
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Petses, Charles; New York City Taxi Drivers Union, Local 3036 Vice President: Assault on
1971
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Port Authority of New York and New Jersey: Dispatchers
1986-1991
Box: 3 Folder : 7 Position Papers and Proposals
1972-1977
Box: 3 Folder : 8 Press Releases
undated; 1971-1980
Box: 3 Folder : 9 "Put the Bosses on the Street, Let the Workers Run the Fleets" (Draft flyer)
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 10 Queens Forest Coalition of Concerned Drivers
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 11 Questionnaires (Iota Garage; Cab Trans)
1974-1976
Box: 3 Folder : 12 Racism: Statements and Articles
undated; 1974-1978
Box: 3 Folder : 13 Rules Governing Taxi Drivers and Public Coaches
1962; 1964
Box: 3 Folder : 14 Safety
1973-1978
Box: 3 Folder : 15 Shift Changes
1974
Box: 3 Folder : 16 Song Books and Song Sheets
undated; 1973-1976
Box: 3 Folder : 17 Spartacist League
1972
Box: 3 Folder : 18 Spector Cab Corp. and Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade v. The City of New York, et al.
1975
Box: 3 Folder : 19 "The Stillness of Taxicab #753" (Short story typescript)
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 20 Study Group Reading Lists
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 21 Syndicat National des Chauffeurs de Taxi de Montreal: Newsletters: Taxi
undated; 1974
Box: 3 Folder : 22 Taxi at the Crossroads: Which Way to Turn? (Taxi Rank and File Coalition pamphlet)
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 23 Taxi Commission
1971; 1973-1978
Box: 3 Folder : 24 Taxi Project, The Museum of Modern Art
1976
Box: 3 Folder : 25 Taxi Rank and File Coalition, et al. v. Harry Van Arsdale, Jr., et al. (I)
1973-1974
Box: 3 Folder : 26 Taxi Rank and File Coalition, et al. v. Harry Van Arsdale, Jr., et al. (II)
1973-1974
Box: 3 Folder : 27 Taxi Rank and File Coalition, et al. v. Harry Van Arsdale, Jr., et al. (III)
1973-1974
Box: 3 Folder : 28 Taxi Rank and File Coalition, et al. v. Harry Van Arsdale, Jr., et al. (IV)
1973-1974
Box: 3 Folder : 29 Taxi Rank and File Coalition, et al. v. Harry Van Arsdale, Jr., et al.: Correspondence and Petitions
1972-1973
Box: 3 Folder : 30 Taxi Rank and File Coalition, et al. v. Harry Van Arsdale, Jr., et al.: Notes
1973-1974
Box: 3 Folder : 31 Taxi Rank and File Coalition, et al. v. Harry Van Arsdale, Jr., et al. (Request to Revise Settlement)
1980
Box: 3 Folder : 32 Taxi Rank and File Coalition, et al. v. Harry Van Arsdale, Jr., et al. (Request to Revise Settlement): Affidavits
1980
Box: 3 Folder : 33 Taxi Workers against a Sellout
1979-1981
Box: 3 Folder : 34 Taxi Workers against a Sellout, et al. v. Ben Goldberg and Taxi Drivers and Allied Workers Union, Local 3036, SEIU
1983; 1985
Box: 3 Folder : 35 Taxi Workers for a Democratic Union
1977
Box: 3 Folder : 36 Taxi Workers for Decisive Action
1976-1977
Box: 3 Folder : 37 Taxicab Drivers Union, Local 156 (Philadelphia)
1973
Box: 3 Folder : 38 Taxicab Industry Local 3036 Benefit Fund, et al. v. Ann Service Corporation, et al.
1983
Box: 3 Folder : 39 Tenants Groups (including Metropolitan Council on Housing)
undated; 1966; 1969-1971
Box: 3 Folder : 40 United Jewish Appeal, Taxi Division
1973
Box: 3 Folder : 41 United Taxi Workers
undated; 1976
Box: 3 Folder : 42 Vietnam War
1972
Box: 3 Folder : 43 Watch-Dog Committee (and New Watch-Dog Committee)
1971-1976
Box: 3 Folder : 44 WBAI (discussion on Taxi Rank and File Coalition)
1975
Box: 3 Folder : 45 Welfare Fund: International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 237: New York City Audit Report on
1979
Box: 3 Folder : 46 Wisconsin General and Industrial Workers Union, Local 104
1978
Box: 3 Folder : 47 Women Taxi Drivers
1978
Box: 3 Folder : 48 Workers Action Movement (Progressive Labor Party, Dick Sevrens)
1975
Box: 3 Folder : 49 Workers' League: Mechanics and Drivers for a Decent Contract
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 50 Zarr, Edward v. Taxi Drivers and Allied Workers Union, Local 3036, SEIU
1983
Box: 3 Folder : 51 Zeiger, Henry, et al. v. Ben Goldberg, et al.
undated

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