Are mediation talks scheduled in cab strike? Sides can’t agree

Associated Press

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

Representatives of a taxi drivers union say a mediation session has been scheduled for Wednesday morning in the 3-day-old strike against Yellow-Checker-Star Transportation, but company management says that’s not true and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service won’t confirm whether a meeting would occur.

Representatives of the Office and Professional Employees International Union, parent of the Industrial Technical Professional Employees Union Local 4873, said in an email Tuesday that a meeting is scheduled at the FMCS’ Las Vegas office with the union and YCS management.

“Absolutely not true,” said Bill Shranko, general manager of YCS, Southern Nevada’s second-largest taxi group.

A representative of FMCS’ regional office could not confirm a meeting, and representatives of the agency in Washington and Las Vegas did not return calls.

About 75 percent of YCS’ 1,700 drivers are union members, but it’s unclear how many of them have crossed the picket line in the strike over wages and policies YCS implemented when contract negotiations failed.

YCS imposed “implemented terms and conditions of employment” on Feb. 3 after bargaining units hit an impasse on contract negotiations that began last fall. YCS officials said it would be their last and best offer.

Several sources say the strike, so far, hasn’t been disruptive. Representatives of McCarran International Airport and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said there have been no disruptions of taxi service at the airport or in the resort corridor.

But part of the reason is that the city is in a lull in what traditionally is a busy month for conventions and special events. The first of four college basketball tournaments begins in Las Vegas later this week and traffic to and from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway will pick up by the weekend for NASCAR racing events.

In addition, the Nevada Taxicab Authority activated an order approved in December to give Administrator Charles Harvey the power to give 13 companies not affected by the strike additional medallions to pick up any slack. Harvey was given authorization to activate 30 additional cabs per company, but only approved 20, meaning a potential for 260 more vehicles.