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Las Vegas taxi drivers plan strike to protest Uber

Taxi drivers employed by Yellow Checker Star (YCS) in Las Vegas plan on conducting a work stoppage along Las Vegas Boulevard on May 29 from 2-5 p.m. In a protest against Uber, a ride-sharing service, officials pointed to unsafe driver standards and a “surge pricing” policy.

ECN 052015_SW_Uber logo (Rotator)

YCS drivers are members of the Industrial, Technical and Professional Employees Union (ITPEU) OPEIU Local 4873, which represents more than 11,000 workers on military installations and federal buildings.

“Our members are professional drivers. They are experienced drivers, fully insured, and have passed comprehensive background checks,” said Dennis R. Arrington, president, ITPEU/OPEIU Local 4873. “The same cannot be said for Uber drivers. These so-called drivers can be hired without any driving experience, are not insured by the company and are let loose on the streets without any sort of background check.”

The taxi drivers are also protesting Uber’s “surge pricing” policy, under which riders are not informed ahead of rates for any given route and which often undercuts metered taxi rates.

Taxi drivers protesting Uber 'surge pricing' policy.
Taxi drivers protesting Uber ‘surge pricing’ policy.

In addition to “surge pricing,” Arrington claimed public safety to be at risk when passengers use Uber.

“But this is more than just an issue of hardworking union members losing their jobs to unfair competition,” Arrington added. “This is an issue of public safety. The passengers and pedestrians of Las Vegas deserve drivers who know what they’re doing and, if an accident does occur, that their driver is fully insured. With Uber, you certainly don’t have that assurance.”

During the 2015 edition of International CES, CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro, who organizes the world’s leading annual innovation event, endorsed the decision of Clark County District Court Judge Douglas Herndon to disallow a temporary restraining order to block Uber in Las Vegas.

Uber itself reached out to CES attendee to sign a petition to support its operation in Nevada. As of May 2015, Nevada lawmakers approved a bill to authorize ride-sharing services from companies including Uber and Lyft. The bill is pending a final signature from Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval before Uber operations can begin.

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