Open Letter to Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO

Liberty Cab
 Dear Mr. Kalanick,
          Many have condemned your efforts to try and profit from the temporary work stoppage at JFK Airport called by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance to protest President Trump’s discriminatory ban on immigration from several predominately Muslim countries and I would like to add my voice to that condemnation in the strongest possible terms.
          The president’s ban offends and injures more than 70 percent of all for-hire drivers and their families in the U. S. and must be overturned as quickly as possible in our courts and a series of lawsuits that have already been filed are seeking that immediate remedy.
          Mr. Kalanick, while you have since announced that your company would provide three months of compensation to help drivers “mitigate some of the financial stress and complications with supporting their families and putting food on the table,” that is simply not enough.
          While your rival ride-hailing company Lyft has pledged a $1 million donation to the American Civil Liberties Union to help “defend our constitution,” I am asking that you take the dramatic step of leading an exodus of business leaders from the president’s business advisory council, of which you are a member, at the council’s meeting on Friday with President Trump.
          While you have said you plan to discuss the immigration ban with the president at that meeting, you could certainly send a much stronger and more meaningful message to all our citizens by condemning the immigration order by withdrawing from Trump’s advisory council and stating that you do not share in the discriminatory agenda of this president.
          Washington has become the first state to legally challenge the Trump administration on the immigration ban, with Gov. Jay Inslee saying this week that “the fact is that its impact, its cruelty, its clear purpose is an unconscionable religious test.”
          Washington and 16 other state attorney generals, including New York, have condemned the immigration ban, releasing a joint statement on Sunday that “we are committed to working to ensure that as few people as possible suffer from the chaotic situation that it has created.”
          Mr. Kalanick, it is time for you to step up to the plate and use your opportunity as a member of the president’s business advisory council to call attention to the terrible injustice that is enforced by the ban and to announce that you are no longer willing to serve on the council while the ban is continued and urging your fellow business council members to join you in that exodus.
          This is not the first time we have been on opposite sides of the spectrum as I have been fighting the ride-hailing industry for fairness in the marketplace in New York State, firing what I call a pea shooter against overwhelming odds considering the enormous wealth of your industry.
          But that’s not the issue here.    As a small business owner in Buffalo who employs hundreds of people, many of them who could be effected by this administration’s policies on immigration, I am asking you to show that you care about workers and their families across the board and that you will not tolerate the discriminatory effects of this ban barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days and suspends admission of all refugees for 120 days.
          The time to show Uber’s real concerns about such an order is now, and you will have the forum on Friday to make a statement that will help focus attention on the consequences and damages created by this illegal and unconstitutional executive order.
Bill Yuhnke
Liberty Yellow Cab
Buffalo
Liberty Cab
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