Bhairavi Desai: organizing immigrant labor through a feminist lens

C. Laura Lovin, Mary K. Trigg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Bhairavi Desai founded the New York Taxi Workers Alliance in 1998, when she twenty-six years old. She initiated a strike that year, to protest new rules imposed by then-mayor Rudolph Giuliani. The strike mobilized forty thousand licensed taxi drivers, who protested proposed regulations then sough to quadruple liability-insurance costs, increase fines, implement a longer probationary period, and mandate drug and alcohol testing. The strike kept the city-s yellow cabs off the street for twenty-four hours. Desai fought to make the voices of the taxi workers heard and to reframe the drivers into knowledgeable and invested parties in conversation with the power brokers in the city. She queried, "Who, may I ask, knows more about safety and driving than a driver?... Who is most interested in driving being a safe occupation? Who is most affected by these rules? The answer to all these questions is 'the yellow-cab driver.'".
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJunctures in Women's Leadership
Subtitle of host publicationSocial Movements
EditorsMary K. Trigg, Alison R. Bernstein
Place of PublicationNew Brunswick
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2016

Publication series

NameJunctures: Case Studies in Women's Leadership
PublisherRutgers University Press


  • immigrant labour
  • feminisim
  • social justice


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