Ontario Taxi Workers Union becomes Ontario's largest advocate for cab drivers

HAMILTON, ON, June 2, 2011 /CNW/ - History was made today as the Ontario Taxi Workers Union (OTWU) grew to more than 1,000 members, becoming the largest union of cab drivers in Ontario.

OTWU welcomed over 500 new members from Blue Line after the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) ordered the results of a recent election be released.  Arguments from Blue Line lawyers had previously delayed the ballot count.

"We are very happy with today's result. Hamilton taxi drivers are standing united in one organization. Together we are stronger" says OTWU President Ejaz Butt. "This sends a clear message to Blue Line and Hamilton Cab that their time and money will be best spent working with drivers to bargain a fair agreement."

Interim OTWU Vice-President and Blue Line driver Faheem Shahid says his happiness with OTWU's recent growth is only dampened by his disappointment with Blue Line, who continue to try and block his colleagues' efforts to create a better Hamilton taxi system for both drivers and customers. "It's been a long year. Blue Line has worked against our efforts to organize, even firing drivers who are supportive of the union. All we want is an opportunity to negotiate, and speak our minds about how we can make Hamilton's taxi system fairer for drivers and better for passengers. We have good ideas that are in everyone's best interests, and we think they should be heard."

Despite Blue Line's concerns about unionization, drivers are hopeful that OTWU's growth will make for more productive discussions.  "With OTWU being over 500 drivers stronger, our voice has become louder," says General Secretary Jamie McCarthy.  "That means Blue Line will eventually have to sit down with the drivers that make their company run.  It's good to know we'll be taken seriously, and that we'll finally have a way to fight for fairness, dignity and respect on the job."

SOURCE Ontario Taxi Workers Union

For further information:

Media Contact: Jacob Leibovitch, OTWU Executive Director, 647-885-8294

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