Founded in 1998, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA) is a union that supports taxi drivers in New York. The NYTWA was founded by members of the Lease Drivers Coalition, an advocacy project of the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV). NYTWA lobbied for structural change in the taxi driving industry, which is ranked by the Department of Labor as one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. Since its founding, the NYTWA has increased taxi drivers’ incomes by thirty-five to forty-five percent, implemented the first- ever Living Wage standard for US taxi drivers in 2004, negotiated the inclusion of taxi drivers in 9/11 federal disaster assistance, changed numerous anti-worker policies and regulations in the taxi industry, and provided discounted or pro bono legal, financial management, and health services to taxi drivers. The NYTWA currently has over 15,000 members, a majority of whom are South Asian, and has been led since its founding by Executive Director Bhairavi Desai. In 2011, the NYTWA became the fifty-seventh affiliate of the AFL-CIO, and Desai has since been elected to their Executive Council.
Containing minutes and agendas from its organizing committee, strategy documents, legal case files, flyers, posters, photographs, membership forms, driver surveys, and press kits, the NYTWA Records offer rich historical documentation of an active labor union’s fight for “justice, rights, respect, and dignity” for its members through legal advocacy and strategic, collective action.
To learn more about the contents of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance Records, located at the NYU Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, view the collection’s finding aid.