Company to begin replacing striking cab drivers next week with new hires

Associated Press

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

Managers at Yellow-Checker-Star Transportation say they’ll begin hiring replacements for striking taxi drivers starting next Thursday or Friday.

YCS General Manager Bill Shranko said it’s unclear how many drivers would be hired to replace strikers because more drivers have been returning to work after manning picket lines since Sunday in a walkout against the second largest taxi group in Southern Nevada.

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

Shranko said the company met Wednesday with a federal mediator and representatives of the Industrial Technical Professional Employees Union Local 4873, but held firm to its stance that it would not veer from the “implemented terms and conditions of employment” the company issued on Feb. 3 after bargaining units hit an impasse on contract negotiations that began last fall.

Shranko said the company agreed to meet as a courtesy to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service office in Las Vegas. He said he was unaware a meeting had been scheduled with the mediator when asked by a reporter Tuesday about whether the company would participate.

“Nothing said at that meeting has changed our minds about our course of action,” Shranko said.

He said the company has nearly completed training its first hiring class, and new applicants would be given positions held by striking drivers. He said new hires would not be laid off if current drivers come back to work but they would be brought back by seniority if positions are available.

“We really have nothing to say to the union at this point,” Shranko said. “If they want to work, they can come back and work if there’s a position open. Or, they can go to another company. I think some of the other companies are hiring.”

Representatives of the union and its parent organization, the Office and Professional Employees International Union, were not immediately available for comment.