Cab company vows to continue taxi service despite planned driver strike

Las Vegas Sun File

Taxis wait at “the pit” for fares at McCarran International Airport. At any time, there are about 2,000 cabs on Las Vegas streets.

Managers of Yellow-Checker-Star Transportation say they’re prepared to continue taxi service even if union drivers walk off the job early Sunday as expected.

Drivers say they’ll strike at 12:01 a.m., Sunday. There are 1,703 drivers in the bargaining unit of the Industrial Technical Professional Employees union, but it’s unclear how many of them will strike and how many will cross the picket line.

“We have a refusal to provide relevant information and an imposed contract,” ITPE President Dennis Arrington said. “The drivers were left with no choice but to move forward with the strike.”

YCS, Southern Nevada’s second-largest group of taxi companies, imposed “implemented terms and conditions of employment” on Feb. 3 after bargaining units hit an impasse on contract negotiations that began last fall.

Union drivers conducted a strike vote in early December, leading to a return to the bargaining table after the holidays. YCS management requested a federal mediator, but negotiations failed leading the union to conduct an informational picket on Feb. 6 at the Las Vegas Convention Center as delegates attending the World of Concrete trade show left the facility.

The terms and conditions of employment document distributed by YCS management was termed the company’s “best and final offer.”

YCS executive Bill Shranko said his company isn’t expecting any violent acts, but will provide security for drivers when they come in for their shifts. He said there are no plans for company managers to drive taxis.

Shranko also said reports that YCS management initially offered bonuses to employees who voted to ratify the offered contract were inaccurate.

He said the Nevada Taxicab Authority has been notified of the strike date.

A representative of the Taxicab Authority referred calls to the Department of Business and Industry, which didn’t return calls Thursday afternoon.

The five-member Taxicab Authority board has approved orders authorizing additional cabs to companies not affected by the strike, but it was unclear if and when that would take effect.

March traditionally is a busy time for conventions in Las Vegas with the 2013 Heli Expo, expected to attract 26,000 people, scheduled to open at the Convention Center on Tuesday. Four NCAA basketball tournaments are on the calendar, with the West Coast Athletic Conference scheduled March 6-11 at the Orleans Arena and the Western Athletic Conference, Mountain West Conference and the men’s Pacific 12 Conference tournaments the following week.

The state’s largest live sporting event, NASCAR’s Kobalt Tools 400 race, will be at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway March 10.

Tags: Business