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Sunday, January 25, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 24.0° F  Overcast
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Driving force
From the Isthmus archives, Oct. 16, 1987
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Credit:Mary Langenfeld

Anticipating Co-op Day in Madison, Sherri Wilder reports that eight years after it arose from the ashes of strike-bound Checker Cab, Union Cab has grown from a fleet of 13 cabs to 40, plus five limousine vans serving the airport, and a staff of 120 worker-owners. "Our hiring policies are very stringent," says Union Cab general manager Perry Benson. "Enthusiasm for driving cab and for the co-op itself is real important. If people aren't dying to work for us they probably aren't going to get hired." A committee of drivers screens applications and forwards candidates to the interview process, reports Wilder, herself a former Union Cab driver. "A co-op needs the active participation of its members or it will die," Benson explains. He describes membership demographics as "an eclectic blend of romantics, '60s refugees, students, working mothers, semi-retired people and '80s businesspeople.... But we're a true cooperative." Cab co-op membership has grown to 200, and Union Cab's fleet now numbers 63 vehicles. Business is "excellent," says the co-op's Randy Salber, and further expansion is planned.

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