Taxi driver union says strike over; company ‘cautiously optimistic’ about new deal

Associated Press

Travelers arriving at McCarran International Airport make their way through the taxi queue in Las Vegas on Friday, March 1, 2013.

Taxi driver union representatives say their 60-day strike against Yellow Checker Star has ended and a company management official says he’s “cautiously optimistic” that a new contract would be signed Thursday morning.

The Industrial, Technical and Professional Employees Union Local 4873 distributed a release late Wednesday saying union representatives would sign a contract with YCS, Clark County’s second-largest taxi group, that includes 16 changes to its previous agreement.

A spokeswoman for the union said a driver meeting was scheduled Wednesday night and a vote on the contract was planned.

A representative of YCS confirmed that a contract signing is scheduled at the taxi company’s office Thursday morning and that he’s optimistic that the deal would be completed, ending the labor dispute that has raged since March 3.

YCS and union leaders thought they were on the verge of signing a contract in January when the union’s leadership recommended an affirmative vote on a deal. But 75 percent of the union’s 1,700 drivers rejected the contract in the vote, which led to YCS approving implemented terms and conditions instead of a contract in February.

At least 100 drivers stayed away from their jobs and YCS began hiring replacements in mid-March.

The strike was punctuated with rallies and informational pickets, most of them peaceful, but in the latter days of the strike several accusations were traded by union and management.

The union and YCS offered no details about the new contract, but union officials said it includes an increase in the drivers’ share of the meter, reinstatement of eligibility for the four-day work week of 12 hours per day and 10-hour-per-day shifts and increases in annual bonuses.