OTTAWA Ottawas taxi dispatchers, members of CUPE Local 4266, gave their Bargaining Committee a 96% mandate today to strike against Ziptrack, a new company which operates Blue Line, Capital, Vetrans and DJ Taxi. With the present contract expiring December 31, 2003, the strike date has been set for New Years Eve night the taxi industrys busiest night of the year. Unionized taxi drivers, also employed by the owners of Ziptrack, have agreed to support the dispatchers picket-line.
Ziptrack promised changes when they took over Ottawas taxi industry two and a half years ago, says Donna Reaney, Chief Steward, CUPE Local 4266. They never told us that every change would make them richer and us poorer. The dispatchers are paid an average wage of $9 an hour and are not entitled to benefits. Its time to teach the taxi grinch a lesson.
Despite consolidations, the introduction of technology and expanded service, dispatcher wages remain stagnant while the workload is ever increasing. Individual dispatchers answer and respond to between 500 and 1000 calls a day and have only one break for lunch.
CUPE Local 4266 is also preparing to charge ZipTrack with unfair bargaining for a number of violations in the past week that include the termination of a member of the Bargaining Committee without just cause.
In support and preparation for the taxi dispatcher strike, CUPE Local 4266 are asking people to assign designated drivers, use public transit and utilize a volunteer ride service provided by MADDs Operation Red Nose (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). If you are under the influence of alcohol, please contact 771-AUTO for a safe ride to your destination. Individuals are also encouraged to offer to be a volunteer driver for Operation Red Nose.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is the largest union in the country representing over half a million workers.
For more information, please contact:
Chief Steward, CUPE L. 4266