Unionized taxi drivers in Las Vegas hit the jackpot earlier this month when they won a two-month strike against one of the city’s largest taxi firms, Yellow Checker Star (YCS).
The new contract secures numerous improvements, including increasing the drivers’ share of meter receipts. It reinstates eligibility for the four-day work week of 12 hours per day in addition to the 10-hour daily shifts. Additionally, it increases annual bonuses and other benefits.
This was a huge win for the labor movement because it shows what organized labor can do among blue-collar workers, even in industries like the taxi industry where unionization is virtually non-existent. It also demonstrated the importance of union density. Las Vegas, where the strike took place, is one of the more heavily unionized cities in America.
“I’m extremely proud of the fact that we have the loyal support of so many drivers, all of whom are the heart and soul of this struggle,” said Michael Goodwin, who is president of the MTD-affiliated Office and Professional Employees Union (OPEIU). “These drivers, although enduring a great deal of personal hardship, stood together and proved that through solidarity and collective bargaining, workers can improve their quality of life.”
Taxi drivers at YCS are represented by Industrial, Technical and Professional Employees Union/OPEIU Local 4873. Goodwin credited a number of international unions for their loyal support during the struggle, including MTD affiliates CWA, SIU and AFSCME.