HAMILTON, Oct. 16, 2013 /CNW/ - The Ontario Taxiworkers Union (OTWU) scored a major victory in the struggle to unionize and attain a first contract for Hamilton taxi drivers. The Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) has settled the issue of who represents the employer and who is bound to negotiate with taxi drivers at one of the two unionized brokerages in Hamilton.
"This is a great win for the union and our members at Hamilton Cab," said OTWU President Ali Naimpoor. "Now we can move forward to negotiate a strong contract and make sure plate owners are not gouging taxi workers."
Hamilton Cab had been fighting against negotiating "shift" and "lease" rates for taxi drivers at their brokerage for over a year. Hamilton Cab claimed it was not their responsibility to negotiate the economic relationship between individual drivers (taxi workers represented by the OTWU) and the taxi plate owners that rent the taxis on a "shift" or "lease" basis.
Now that the labour board has made it clear multi-plate owners and lessors are part of the employer group, the union can move forward to negotiate what amounts to wages for taxi workers. With this ruling, the OTWU can now make progress in contract negotiations with Hamilton Cab and its associated multi-plate owners.
Currently, lease rates are unregulated and plate owners can arbitrarily set and change the fees at any time, thereby significantly affecting the ability of working taxi drivers to make a living to support their families.
"Hamilton Cab and many multi-plate owners fiercely opposed OTWU's application to the OLRB because it was the key to improving drivers' lives and building support for the union," said OTWU Secretary Jamie MacArthur.
"We knew this would be a long, hard fight against the vested interests exploiting taxi drivers in Hamilton. The United Steelworkers are committed to supporting, organizing and achieving real gains for precarious workers such as taxi drivers. This ruling is a vindication and a significant victory for the drivers who had to remain strong and united through years of delay and frustration," said Ken Neumann, USW National Director.
SOURCE: Ontario Taxi Workers Union
For further information:
visit www.otwu.ca or contact:
Ali Naimpoor, OTWU President, 905-929-4887, [email protected].
Jamie MacArthur, OTWU Secretary, 289-339-1972, [email protected].
Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951.