Drive to Unionize Cab Drivers Proving Difficult

The drive to unionize Halifax’s taxi drivers has hit some potholes.
The move to get drivers to sign up is still underway, but it’s been harder than he thought it would be, independent cabbie and union organizer Gary Jollymore admitted Wednesday.
However, he isn’t giving up.
“We’ve had to fight the misinformation put out by brokers,” Jollymore said. “That was really hard to get past.
“I thought it would be a lot easier to (unionize) to tell you the truth. I never anticipated the strength of the power brokers in this business.”
Jollymore alleges taxi company managers have threatened cab drivers with higher rents to cover extra administration duties, including deducting unemployment insurance and pension benefits.
But that is “pure nonsense,” he said.
In a separate interview, Brian Herman, manager of operations for Casino Taxi, said Jollymore has misinterpreted the information he’s received.
Herman, whose company has about 360 drivers, believes the union movement has “gone quiet” in the past month or so.
“The industry doesn’t need a union,” he said.
Jollymore said he couldn’t release how many cards have been signed since he started collecting signatures in June, but he did say he’s still short of the 160 cabbies he must have in order to move ahead with certification.
Still, he believes he will ultimately get the required number. He’s hoping the Canadian Auto Workers will represent the cabbies.
Next Monday, he and other organizers will plant themselves in front of the Casino office to hand out information pamphlets, said Jollymore.
It will be the third time they’ve done the pamphlet release, he said.
Monday was picked because it is the day drivers show up to pay their weekly rents.
Drivers have a number of issues, said Jollymore, including overall fairness and what he believes is an arbitrary discipline procedure.
(ehoare@herald.ca)
Shangox is a TaxiScience expert.