Taxi strike could snarl Las Vegas

After months of talks that went nowhere, the drivers union at Las Vegas’ second-largest cab company has set the industry’s first strike in nearly two decades.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, drivers at Yellow Checker Star Transportation will walk off the job in an action announced Thursday by the Industrial Technical Professional Employees Union Local 4873. Yellow Checker Star holds 600 operating permits, known as medallions, for one-fourth of a citywide taxi fleet vital to the movement of visitors around the Strip and to and from McCarran International Airport.

“The strike date could change if the employer comes back with a better offer, but that is doubtful,” union spokeswoman Nicole Korkolis said.

On Feb. 3, the company unilaterally implemented a contract rejected by 70 percent of union members in January. Drivers have worked and been paid under its terms since then.

Last year the drivers had rejected a less generous proposal.

Asked about prospects for further talks, Bill Shranko, Yellow Checker Star chief operating officer, on Tuesday said, “That’s not going to happen.”

Company officials have called their second contract offer, reached with the intervention of a federal mediator, the best compensation package in the local industry.

“Nobody likes to go on strike because everybody has families and kids,” driver Hailu Tikureneku said. “But we feel we have no choice because the company does not listen to us or respond to us. I’m feeling good about the strike.”

But several factors cloud how much impact a strike would have on the all-important tourist industry and whether it will help drivers win higher pay.

Shranko noted that the strike’s start time comes midshift, so it is unclear how many drivers will abruptly stop work to return cabs to the company’s lot. If they do, thousands of people could face long waits for a ride or a long walk to their hotel after a Saturday night on the Strip.

The full effect would be felt on Sunday as visitors head to McCarran for their flights home.

Yellow Checker Star may also be able to maintain a presence on the street. According to the union, the company has 1,704 drivers, but 400 are not union members. So the 70 percent rejection vote by those who participated in the election still amounted to less than half of the total.

The Nevada Taxicab Authority directors have given administrator Charles Harvey authority to issue as many as 30 medallions to each of the other 13 cab brands to help cover any shortfall in service.

Harvey said he would wait to see how the strike unfolds before distributing them, while the board could convene quickly to take further action.

Even with the extra medallions, Harvey has acknowledged in recent weeks that it is still unknown how many could go into service on short notice.

One indicator suggests they are already having trouble. Instances of companies unable to find enough drivers, known as blown shifts, have soared in recent years.

In January 2011 there were 276 reports of blown shifts, nearly two-thirds occurring in Laughlin, while some companies reported perfect attendance.

Last month, the blown shifts had jumped to 2,619, as every company had some problems and the Laughlin share fell below 10 percent.

Looming in the background is the expired contract between the largest cab company, Frias Transportation Management, the owner of five brands, and the United Steelworkers Union.

The two are due to resume negotiations under the aegis of a federal mediator on Monday.

Contact reporter Tim O’Reiley at or 702-387-5290.

Auto repair shortage affects Las Vegas
The auto repair industry is facing a national shortage of workers.
Franchising industry booming
Experts say Las Vegas is a hotbed for the franchise industry.
Africa Love owner talks about his store in Las Vegas
Mara Diakhate, owner of Africa Love, gift and decor store, talks about his store in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Developer gets approval to build homes at Bonnie Springs
The Clark County Planning Commission has approved a plan to build 20 homes on the site of Bonnie Springs Ranch. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dig This opens new location In Las Vegas
Remember when you were a kid and played with construction toys in the sand box? Dig This Las Vegas has the same idea, except instead of toy bulldozers, you get to play with the real thing. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Town Square developer Jim Stuart building again in Las Vegas
Las Vegas’ real estate bubble took developers on a wild ride, something Jim Stuart knows all too well. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Salon opens at Veterans Village
T.H.E. Salon, owned by Nicole Christie, celebrated their opening at the Veterans Village with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Southwest Airlines considering Las Vegas-Hawaii flights
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly says the airline is "very focused" on Hawaii. Hawaiians have a strong presence in Las Vegas.The city’s unofficial status is “Hawaii’s ninth island.” In 2018, at least 2,958 people from Hawaii moved to Nevada. Of those, 88.7 percent moved into Clark County, according to driver license surrender data. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 310,249 people came to Las Vegas from Hawaii in 2018.
Fewer Nevadans are celebrating Valentine's Day
Fewer Nevadans are celebrating Valentine's Day. About 1.2 million Nevadans are expected to celebrate this year, a 5 percent drop from 2018. A growing number of people consider Valentine’s Day over-commercialized. Others weren’t interested in the holiday or had nobody to celebrate with. But spending is expected to rise. Those who do celebrate are buying for more people. The average American is expected to spend about $162 this year for Valentine’s Day, a 57 percent jump from a decade prior. Katherine Cullen, director of industry and consumer insights at NRF
Foreclosures of mansions in Las Vegas
Las Vegas was ground zero for America's foreclosure crisis after the housing bubble burst. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rick Helfenbein talks about the impact of tariffs on the clothing industry
MAGIC fashion convention showcases men's clothing trends
The MAGIC fashion convention has come to Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center to showcase some of the hottest clothing trends for men. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Allegiant Air flight attendants learn how to handle a water landing
Field instructor Ashleigh Markel talks about training prospective flight attendants for Allegiant Air getting live training with a raft for a water landing at the Heritage Park Aquatic Complex in Henderson on Monday. (John Hornberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery speaks
Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery speaks about the new Smith & Wollensky restaurant coming to the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian in Las Vegas.
Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery speaks
Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery speaks about the new Smith & Wollensky restaurant coming to the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian in Las Vegas.
Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery talks about Las Vegas return
Michael Feighery, CEO of Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, discusses the restaurant's upcoming return to the Las Vegas Strip.
Apartments to Come to Hughes Center
Developer Eric Cohen discusses his current building project at the Hughes Center office park in Las Vegas, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Stratosphere to rebrand to The STRAT
The Stratosphere, a 1,150-foot-tall property in Las Vegas will be renamed The STRAT Hotel, Casino and Skypod.
Local designers’ picks for the Las Vegas Market
The trends that local interior designers are noticing at the Las Vegas Market this year. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trends in bath products at Las Vegas Market
Camille Herd, the showroom manager for European Bath Kitchen Tile & Stone, talks about the popularity of free-standing bath tubs. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Kitchen trends at Las Vegas Winter Market
Las Vegas Winter Market displayed kitchen trends that mirror common dining accessories at Strip eateries. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Emerging trends in gifts at Las Vegas Market
Julie Smith Vincenti, curator for the First Look showroom tour on gifts and lifestyle, talks about the emerging trends in those categories for this season. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Las Vegas house prices are rising
Southern Nevada home prices were up 12 percent year-over-year in November.
Caesars Republic Scottsdale
Caesars Entertainment Corp. is building its first non-gaming hotel in the United States in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Caesars Entertainment Corp.)
Interior designer Mikel Welch talks about trends for Las Vegas Market
Interior designer Mikel Welch, who also is the on-camera designer for TLC’s Trading Spaces, discusses the trends he sees for the 2019 Las Vegas Winter Market. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
SHOT Show 2019: MEGGITT Virtual Training
MEGGIT showcases its virtual training system at SHOT Show 2019 in Las Vegas.
MGM delivers 700 meals to TSA workers at McCarran
Chefs at Garde Manger at Mandalay Bay provided 700 meals to federal employees who are affected by the government shutdown. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
SHOT Show 2019: A "nonsemi-automatic” weapon
Brandon Dunham of Nevada-based Franklin Armory show off the company’s new rifle prototype it calls a “nonsemi-automatic” weapon. The gun does not use a gas system to fire.
Las Vegas-based concrete repair company knows how to beat the heat
ART Concrete Solutions, a Las Vegas concrete-repair firm, addresses the challenges of construction in the extreme heat and sun of Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas based company brings color to concrete in the desert heat
Semco Modern Seamless Surface, a Las Vegas surface engineering company, knows how to put color in concrete construction in the Vegas heat. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing