Las Vegas Sun

September 30, 2014

LV Cabbies Refuse To Boycott Airport

Hundreds of Las Vegas cab drivers, facing threats of losing their jobs, refused to honor a boycott at McCarran International Airport Friday, causing few delays in passenger pickup service.

Although most observers said the one-day taxicab protest resulted in some slowdowns, all agreed business at the airport taxi stand, which accommodated thousands of incoming tourists, was not affected.

"It's looking pretty good," said Jerry Nelson, chief investigator of the State Taxicab Authority. "These guys are all pretty level-headed. I just don't believe they would do anything to hurt the industry and themselves."

The boycott, believed to be organized by a small group of Yellow Cab Co. drivers, was designed to protest the taxicab authority's decision to add 48 more cabs on the streets.

"We just asked them to stay away from the airport," a source who claimed to have organized the demonstration said. "We wanted to see how many would go along with it because we want to boycott several hotels next week."

The source said he and four Yellow cabbies, whom he refused to identify. would be willing to meet with board chairman Jack James next week to discuss their grievances. James volunteered to sit down with any disgruntled cabbies Thursday.

"All the drivers know is they're not making enough money, but they don't know how to go about getting a change," the source explained. "That's what we're trying to do."

Business ran smoothly at the airport most of Friday, as cabbies, many claiming their jobs were on the line, picked up passengers.

"Our boss said if we don't work, we're fired," a Union Cab Co. driver said. "We had no choice but come out here."

A Checker Cab Co. driver said, "They threatened our jobs if we didn't come out. We were told they would be checking our trip sheets at the end of the day to make sure we stopped here."

Supervisors from several major companies, including Checker and Whittlesea Blue Cab, were present to make sure their drivers complied with their warnings.

Many cabbies said they did not want to support the boycott because they didn't know who was behind it.

Dozens of drivers interviewed said they agree with the reasons behind the boycott but they could not go along with it because of economic reasons.

"I can't afford to not work today," one cabbie said. "I've got five kids at home."

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