Deep from the files of the Checker Motors Corp Public Relations files from 1966 we find yet again another example of Checker’s strained relationship with the Union community.  This time the AFL-CIO taxicab drivers and its members fired taxicab driver Harold Ray, claim the Checker’s are cabs put drivers and passengers in peril.  Grilles kill!

Keep in mind that Yellow and Checker Cab of Chicago were Checker Motors Corp operating units.  Morris Markin had been investing in Chicago Checker medallions since 1920 and he acquired Yellow from John Hertz in 1931.

Chicago American August 5th 1966


By Don Harris

The taxicab union charged today that all Checker and Yellow cars are unsafe for drivers for passengers too.

In a safety bulletin issued by local777, AFL-CIO Democratic Union Organizing committee it was changed that the position of fresh air intake vents results in an excessive amount of carbon monoxide entering cabs.


The complaint was lodged by former cab driver, Harold Ray, who was fired several months ago by Yellow for abandoning cabs off the street. Ray claimed they were “health hazards” and refused to drive them back to the garage.

Yellow Considers Action

Robert E Samuels, president of Yellow, said the company’s lawyers are considering legal action against the union and Ray.

Samuels said he doesn’t think the cabs, manufactured for Checker and Yellow by Checker Motors Corporation are unsafe or in any way endanger the health of drivers.

James Y Carter, city public vehicles commissioner, promised to look into the matter to see if the design of the cabs violate any city ordinances.

Charges in Complaint

Engineering Illustration not the tube that fed the interior connects just below the headlights

“To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing in the city ordinances which specifies where intake vents must be place,” Carter said.“If this is a valid complaint, it deserves to looking intothe advantages of putting vents in one place or another.”

The Union’s complaint submitted by Ray alledges that “the lives and health of DUOC member may be endangered by exposure to abnormally high concentrations of carbon monoxide, which has been known to cause permanent damage to the brain and other neuromuscular tissues.”

“this has resulted in mental confusion, sluggish reactions, errors of judgement, and other common symptoms of monoxide poisoning, such as nausea, headache, drowsiness, blurred vision, etc.”

The issue according to the Union, is the placing of intake vents behind radiator grille instead of at the base of the windshield. Major auto manufacturers changed their design voluntarily several years ago, the union charges, but Checker continues to stay with old vents.

Everett (Red) Clark, president of local 777, said the union will continue to circulate leaflets concerning safety for its members and taxicab passengers