Stamford cab drivers refuse to work

Dozens of cab drivers refused to work Monday because of what they say are racist economic policies at Stamford Taxi.

According to the cabbies, five of their colleagues were fired over ongoing labor negotiations.

Drivers say Stamford Taxi is charging them unreasonable fees to keep their cars in service, and the cabbies are refusing to pay.

?The Department of Transportation has allowed slavery to continue in the taxi business,? said Lloyd Mellad, a Stamford Taxi driver. ?There has been no emancipation. It?s all a black/white affair.?

The company?s owner said in a statement that he is negotiating with the drivers? union, and that the drivers ?are taking it upon themselves to illegally do a work stoppage."

He also said negotiations have dragged on for 16 months, and that he?ll keep firing drivers for not paying. However, he thinks the matter can be resolved by week?s end.

Because of poor English skills, the cabbies have asked the black owner of another Fairfield county cab company to speak on their behalf. He says the cabbies are facing is a system-wide problem steeped in racism.

Stamford Taxi's owner couldn't disagree more. "There is nothing racist about this whatsoever. That is wrong. We are not racist. We have never been racist, and we're very hurt over those comments,? he said.

Commuters looking for a ride Monday morning were forced to either wait in line for the cabs that were still in service or to take the train. They say cabs are usually lined up, and waits are less than a minute.

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