Cab drivers, upset with contract, picket outside trade show

Some 150 Yellow Checker Star cab drivers and their supporters, some with megaphones and bullhorns, staged an informational picket at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Wednesday to protest a new contract implemented by the city’s second-largest cab company.

Observers said the demonstration was peaceful and without incident.

The demonstration occurred as delegates at major convention, the World of Concrete show, were leaving the trade show floor.

Demonstrators carried placards reading “Fair contract for Yellow Checker & Star drivers now!” and “Respect and dignity for Yellow Checker & Star drivers.”

More than 1,100 drivers overwhelmingly rejected a company management offer in late January, and representatives of the Industrial Technical Professional Employees union said it could call a strike.

Yellow Checker Star management responded by implementing the contract that had been rejected on Sunday, saying it was its best and final offer.

The company also placed a half-page advertisement in Wednesday’s Las Vegas Review-Journal soliciting new drivers. The ad said drivers receive average pay of $38,000 a year, with some drivers making as much as $60,000 with tips — amounts drivers say are greatly exaggerated.

Union drivers say most drivers barely make minimum wage and many qualify for welfare.

Representatives of the union did not return calls for comments on their plans. Leaders say they have been authorized to call a strike.

With the rejected contract in place, the company’s management considers the matter resolved.

The key issues of the contract dispute had been over pay and the amount of time drivers must be employed to be eligible to work a four-day work week.

Starting drivers usually work 12-hour shifts five or six days a week and must be with the company 18 months to be eligible to work a four-day schedule. The new contract extends that time to six years.



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