About 150 taxi drivers took to the Strip on Wednesday evening to voice their displeasure over contract talks with Las Vegas' largest cab company.
The contract between Frias Transportation Management, which owns five cab brands, and drivers, represented by United Steelworkers Local 711-A, expired Sept. 11 but has remained in place through a day-to-day series of extensions.
According to union leaders, the main difference between the two sides is a company proposal to significantly dilute the preference seniority is given when drivers bid for shifts and particular cars.
Unlike many other union agreements, seniority does not directly affect pay. However, working on a Friday night is typically much more lucrative for a driver than working on a Tuesday morning.
The company proposal, according to union representatives, would replace the current system with a point system in which seniority accounts for one-fourth of the total and the rest is tied to performance-based measures, including how much drivers book in fares.
Frias executives could not be reached for comment.
The drivers' protest march started at Bally's and proceeded north to The Venetian before looping back. Protesters stopped a couple of times to chant slogans for their cause.
The march proceeded largely without incident.
"We wanted to make sure we are heard," said Yonas Tessema, the president of the union's Frias unit.
Out of about 1,900 drivers at Frias, nearly half belong to the union, said the union's local president, Stephanie Edelman.
Drivers say the revenue benchmark would spur more long-hauling, which involves driving unsuspecting tourists on roundabout routes between Strip resorts and McCarran International Airport to inflate the fares.
For driver Steve Johnson, who said he has been with Frias for 12 years, seniority has a more direct impact. It allows him to drive a cab with 49,000 miles on it rather than one with more than 200,000 miles.
Contact reporter Tim O'Reiley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5290.