Last-minute deal helps blunt threat of cabdriver strike
A tentative contract agreement was reached today between negotiators with the Industrial Technical Professional Employees union and Yellow-Checker-Star, the second-largest operator of taxis in Southern Nevada, but negotiations with a second cab company are continuing, so the threat of strike has not been completely averted.
The deal blunts a potentially crippling blow to tourist transportation as two unions representing more than half of the cab drivers working in Clark County were in contract negotiations with the two largest cab groups representing eight of the 16 companies licensed to operate in the county.
Sources with knowledge of the negotiations said a tentative deal for Yellow-Checker-Star was reached this afternoon, averting a potential driver strike that could have begun at midnight.
Representatives of the United Steelworkers union and the Frias Transportation Management group did not respond to inquiries about the status of their negotiations late this afternoon. Like the ITPE union and Yellow-Checker-Star, negotiators were eyeing a midnight deadline to reach agreement on a contract that has been extended since the drivers’ contract ended Sept. 11.
Representatives of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and the Nevada Taxicab Authority expressed relief after hearing news of the ITPE-YCS settlement.
“Anything that has the potential to disrupt the Las Vegas experience, we’re going to be paying attention to,” said Jeremy Handel, a spokesman for the LVCVA.
The Taxicab Authority has been awaiting word of a strike to schedule an emergency meeting to discuss additional cab allocations for companies not affected by the strike. The authority’s board had a plan in place to approve up to 30 additional cabs per company if the board was not able to meet within 24 hours of an announced strike.
There currently are no major conventions in town, but Fabtech, a metalworkers show with a projected attendance of 30,000 people, is scheduled to begin a three-day run Monday.
Last month, about 200 drivers staged an orderly demonstration at the Las Vegas Convention Center as it emptied on the second day of the Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show Oct. 31.
Frias is the largest cab operator in Southern Nevada, and the Steelworkers represent about 1,800 drivers for ANLV, Virgin Valley, ABC Union, Vegas Western and ACE Cab companies.
At issue is how drivers are allowed to bid for their shifts. The company wants to change the bidding process to allow better-performing employees to get preferred shifts. Employees would be ranked by attendance, job performance and productivity. Currently, the ranking is by seniority.
Union leaders object to performance-based standards because they believe an emphasis on productivity would lead to more drivers using illegal means to produce revenue, such as long-hauling.