Report: Somali cabbies learn price of protest

Two-hundred Somali cabdrivers in the Twin Cities found out what happens when you protest. They were fired from their jobs at Airport Taxi, Twin Cities Daily Planet is reporting.

The drivers were involved in a protest that reportedly has been going on for at least a decade, lately centering on the amount the drivers are paid for ferrying clients of UCare and Medicaid.

Fisseha Guanje, who’s been driving a cab for 13 years and has two kids, said the drivers don’t want to join a union. “We just want to sit down and talk to the company owner,” he said. Instead, they all got fired for showing up to protest. Guanje is particularly concerned about the $1,000 deposit he made when starting with the company. He’s not sure he’ll get it back — and in any case, there is no interest. “They kick you out – no interest!” he said.

Taxis that showed up to protest were slapped with fliers that said, “”Your lease has been terminated and your auto insurance has been cancelled effective immediately.”

  • John

    Why should these cabdrivers have to be in a union to be heard? Is the court system not available to them? It all seems draconian to fire people who have genuine concerns about how your business is conducted.

  • JSK

    Ah. That explains the two occasions (this morning being the 2nd) I saw a large number of cabs lined up along a frontage road on the northbound side of 169 about a mile or two south of the Bass Lake Road exit.

  • Kassie

    The court system is not available for them. They are at will employees and an employer can fire them for any reason they want as long as it is not due to discrimination of a protected class.

    Only with a union would they have been protected from this nonsense, but of course “unions are not needed in this day and age.” At least that’s what I hear all the time.

  • noodleman

    Assuming that the cab driver quoted above is Muslim (let’s not jump to conclusions), I would find some irony, then, with his complaint re: the lack of any interest-dividend on the $1000 deposit he placed with the company when Islam prohibits usury or the charging of interest.

  • Iris H


    Just like Christians differ so do Muslims. If the Imam approves it, you are sometimes allowed to take out a loan. And this was a deposit rather than a loan so no interest was charged against the individual making the deposit within the rules of Islam.