By Doug Schmidt, The Windsor StarSeptember 30, 2009
WINDSOR, Ont. -- Windsor’s ailing taxi industry is getting a break after city council this week agreed to allow older cabs to remain on the road a bit longer.
According to a 2007 bylaw, city taxis can’t be more than seven years old to have their annual operating licenses renewed. The cabbies complained that city administration was interpreting the bylaw’s turnover deadline of “August 31 of the model year” to mean 2003 models had to come off the road this year.
A large delegation of cabbies helped fill the public gallery at Monday’s city council meeting to protest the bureaucrats’ interpretation of that year, as well as to seek a further break during tough times.
“We believe administration is wrong. We’re saying those cabs (2003) aren’t seven years old until 2010,” said Mike Dunning, financial secretary of CAW Local 195, which represents unionized drivers at Veteran Cab. He said letting city staff’s interpretation stand would affect almost a third of that company’s 175 cabs and likely lead to major layoffs.
“If a baby is born on Aug. 31, 2003, when is it a year old? That’d be Aug. 31, 2004,” Dunning said by way of analogy.
While the cabbies “bought into the bylaw,” he said they need every break they can get given the state of the local economy and the fact Veteran drivers just came off a 103-day strike.
“We’re in a bad way — the industry is hurting dramatically,” said Walter Bezzina, who spoke to council on behalf of Veteran Cab. He said the company’s switchboard is fielding only half the calls for fares that it was just a year ago, with 58,000 calls in August 2009 compared to 117,000 in August 2008.
Bezzina said sticking to the staff recommendation would result in “the possibility of putting 130 people out of work.”
Diane Sibley, the city’s executive director of licensing and enforcement, told council that staff determined a vehicle’s model year based on a vehicle’s VIN number, attached at the time it’s built. “What the registration states is what we use as the model year,” she said.
After some discussion, council agreed with the cabbies’ interpretation. Acknowledging the currently grim state of the economy, council then also agreed to Bezzina’s request to have the latest Aug. 31 deadline for 2002 models extended until next spring.
Even with the concession, Bezzina said each cab in the city “still has to meet all safety standards.”
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12HR SHIFT SUMMER RATES (JUNE-JULY-AUGUST)
$358 + Tax 1YR 5% G.S.T=$375
$336 + Tax 2YR 13% HARMONIZE TAX=$380
$340 + Tax 3YR 13% HARMONIZE TAX=$385
$345 + Tax 4YR 13% HARMONIZE TAX=$390
12HR SHIFT(WINTER RATES) NINE MONTHS
$385 + Tax 1YR 5% G.S.T=$404
$374+ Tax 2YR 13% HARMONIZE TAX=$423.15
$384.45+ Tax 3YR 13% HARMONIZE TAX=$434.50
$394.46 + Tax 4YR 13% HARMONIZE TAX=$446
(The average rate less-than $420 with Harmonize Tax)
24HR RATE SPLIT (JUNE-JULY-AUGUST)
$595 + Tax 1YR 5% G.S.T=$625
$554+ Tax 2YR 13% HARMONIZE TAX=$625
$554 + Tax 3YR 13% HARMONIZE TAX=$625
$554 + Tax 4YR 13% HARMONIZE TAX=$625
24HR SHIFT (WINTER RATES) NINE MONTHS
$625 + Tax 1YR 5% G.S.T=$656
$600 + Tax 2YR 13% HARMONIZE TAX=$678
$607 + Tax 3YR 13% HARMONIZE TAX=$682
$620 + Tax 4YR 13% HARMONIZE TAX=$702
$130+ Tax 1YR 5% G.S.T=$136.5
$124.82+ Tax 2YR 13% HARMONIZE TAX=$141.05
$126.54 + Tax 3YR 13% HARMONIZE TAX=$143.00
$133.21+ Tax 4YR 13% HARMONIZE TAX=$150.53
$140.00+ Tax 1YR 5% G.S.T=$147
$134.42+ Tax 2YR 13% HARMONIZE TAX=$151.90
$136.28 + Tax 3YR 13% HARMONIZE TAX=$154.00
$138+ Tax 4YR 13% HARMONIZE TAX=$156.10
Here are some of Veteran Cab drivers Achievements
1- Decrease the weekly lease about 20%
2- First week back to work is free
3- Summer Rental Rate
4- If the meter rate increases to reflect the harmonized sales tax or the cost of gasoline, the company/associates are not entitled to increase the rental lease.
5- 3 sick days/year
6- twenty cents extra for the camera going to the driver
7- One extra holiday from seven to eight days
8- $1 extra money for life insurance
9- Letter of employment is free of charge.
10- less percentage for credit card payments
11- Any future training is free
12- extra time for lease transfers to cancel by the city
13- no suspensions after working hours
14- no discipline without a union representative
15- no documents signed without a union representative
16 Any receipt must have the company/ associate names.
17- create a new language in seniority and probationary
18- A lot of improvements in the language
Veteran Cab Unit Chairperson Haidar Aouli with Sada Almashrek, the Arabic Newspaper. Here are some parts of the Interview.
سائقي التكسي في ونسدور أنتاريوا يحققون نصراً مهماًً في صراعهم المرير مع الادارة
انتهى الصراع المرير الذي استمر ثلاثة أشهر ونصف بانتصار واضح لصالح السائقين في ونسدر –أنتاريو- كندا.
فبعد مئة وأربعة أيام انتهى اضراب سائقي التاكسي في مدينة ونسدر انتاريوا بعد أن حقق السائقون معظم المطالب التي كان ألاضراب من اجلها.
فيما يلي بعض الحقوق التي تم تحقيقها:
تخفيض استأجار التكسي حوالي 20%. فقد خفض سعر استأجار التاكسي من
472$ اسبوعياً الى 375$ اسبوعياً في الصيف و404$ في الشتاء.
يعطى السائق سيارة التاكسي مجاناً في الاسبوع الاول للعودة للعمل بعد الاضراب دون ان يعطي مالك السيارة اية اجرة.
لا يحق للشركة أن تزيد الرسوم على السائق اذا حصل على زيادة من البلدية نتيجة أرتفاع سعر البنزين او ارتفاع الضرائب.
لا يمكن للشركة أن تعاقب السائق قبل مناقشة الامر مع الاتحاد.
لا يمكن للشركة أن تقبل أية سائق جديد اذا كان هناك سائقين على لائحة الانتظار.
يعطى السائق يوم عطلة اضافي على الاعياد السابقة فتصبح ثمانية أيام بعد أن كانت سبعة.
يعفى السائق من الدفع لثلاثة أيام في السنة أثناء المرض أو الاصابة .
لا يمكن للشركة أن توقف السائق عن العمل الا أذا ارسلته رسالة الكترونية عبر حاسوبه قبل ساعتين على الاقل.
لا يمكن أن تحاسب الشركة السائق عن خطأ أرتكبه قبل سنة ونصف .
لا تستطيع الشركة أن تزيد الرسوم على السائق نتيجة تجديد المعدات او تبديلها او نتيجة تزويد التاكسي بالكميرا .
يزود السائق بأية رسالة يطلبها من الشركة مجاناً ودون مقابل.
يمكن للسائق أن يترك العمل مع رب عمله وينتقل الى أخر بعد أن يعطيه أسبوعاً واحداً علماً بذلك.
13- تزيد الشركة تغطية التأمين الشهري على الحياة من 16.5 $ الى 17.5$.
brothers:Joe & Tariq Ayyash preparing the BBQ, Thanks for the job well done. It was a beautifull jobs.
Brother Haidar Aouli Veteran Cab Chairperson talking to MP Joe Camartin
Brohers ,Ahamad el-Mourad ,Jerry farnham,haidar Aouli,Rick Champane and mike Dunning.
MP ,JOE CAMARTIN ,HAIDAR AOULI,NEIL SUBHANI AND MIKE DUNNING
Some important questions we should ask ourselves:
1- What was the goal behind our strike?
2- Was destroying the company one of our goals?
3- Having a free license plate from the City was one of our purposes?
4- Is removing the plate s’ restrictions from the City by-laws was one of our goal ?
If the answer is yes for one of these questions, in that case we did not achieve our goals from the strike.
On the other hand, if our goal was to improve our work conditions and our livelihood then we should discuss our contract logically.
As a member of the Veteran Cab drivers and a union member, I voted and supported the strike in order to lower the lease due the decrease of taxi business in City of Windsor in order to support my self and my family …
What was achieved after the strike was more than I expected, I would like to mention only few issues :
1- Decreasing the lease from $472 to 375 in summer time and $404 in wintertime is very important concession from the company and associates side and we should be happy about that.
2- Offering a first week free of charge, this is worth more than $ 400.
3- The first time the company agreed that will be no lease increase if we receive an increase from the City to reflect the gas increase or the Taxes. This is very important achievements. This changes will help us to avoid so many problems in the future. I would say if we have this article in our collective agreements before ,the company could not increase unfairly the fare from $404 to 452 , because the meter’s increase we receive in that time was only to cover the gas increase . The company increases ignited the dispute and enforce us to go on strike for 105 days in order to correct that problem.
The discussions Will continue.
July 14, 2009 at 1:00 O'oclock:
Veteran Cab drivers have approved the company's latest offer. The CAW members accepted the collective agreement by 77 per cent ending the 104 day long strike.
Of 180 drivers attended the ratifications vote at the local 195; 77% voted Yes to last the company offer and23% voted No.
The four year deal includes lower plate lease and rental rates. The 300 drivers will now go back to work as as possible.
.drivers are please and happy to go back to work with their improved Collective agreemens.
Brother Lewnza CAW Presedent.
meeting for ratification vote.
13 Jul 2009 ... CAW Local 195 has announced that another tentative deal has been reached with Veteran Cab in Windsor. A ratification vote is scheduled for 10am Tuesday morning at 3500 Somme Avenue Union Hall.
July 13, 2009
By tomorrow most, probably the strike of Veteran cab will come to the end .A 105 days of strike will add to veteran cab history.
Veteran Cab has re-opened its dispatch service after drivers rejected the latest contract offer last week. The company says it is being forced to re-open the service because of the city. The city has advised all taxi cab plate owners that it may revoke the plates next month because the plates have not been operating since the strike began in April.
Pickets remain up at Tuscarora and McDougall
By Dalson Chen, The Windsor Star
WINDSOR, Ont. -- Veteran Cab is reopening its dispatch services for cabs, making it possible for non-unionized cab owners to operate their vehicles.
The move comes after union membership rejected a tentative agreement on Friday, despite the recommendation of CAW Local 195’s leadership.
In a statement released Monday morning, the company said it is reopening dispatch services because the city’s licensing department has advised that it may revoke all taxi cab plates on Aug. 4 due to lack of operation.
“By opening dispatch at this time, the company will be providing all plate holders with the opportunity to avoid losing their plates to the city and providing much needed employment to drivers and taxi service to the public,” the company said.
Charles Clark, the president of Veteran Cab, said the company had offered to the union that they meet with Mayor Eddie Francis concerning these issues, but the union refused.
Asked for comment, CAW Local 195 president Gerry Farnham said he was in discussion with CAW national president Ken Lewenza and a union response will be forthcoming.
More than 300 Veteran Cab drivers represented by CAW Local 195 have been on strike since April 2.
When the membership went on strike in 2006, conflict between union loyalists and drivers who refused to strike led to physical altercations and vandalized vehicles.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Haidar Aouli, Chairperson of veteran cab CAW unit, resigned today,Saturday, July 11, 2009
He clarified in his letter to the drivers, the reasons behind his resignation, which mainly due to the drivers’ rejections for the Union recommended offer from the company in order to put end to a 100 days strike.
After a 100 days of Veteran Cab Strike ,a tentative agreement has been rejected by 65% of Veteran Cab drivers, yesterday night . Of 208 drivers ,134 drivers voted No and 73 drivers voted yes and one spoiled ballot.
The big question now,what is next, ?
Strike to continue
By Trevor Wilhelm, The Windsor StarJuly 11, 2009
WINDSOR, Ont. -- Hundreds of disgruntled Veteran Cab drivers voted down a tentative agreement Friday night, meaning the 100-day old strike will continue.
“I’m disappointed, but at the same time, I support the membership,” said CAW Local 195 president Gerry Farnham. “And the majority of the membership voted to stay on strike. So that’s what we’re going to do.”
He said 207 people cast votes, and rejected the deal by 65 per cent. More than 300 taxi drivers went on strike April 2, The strike has lasted so long that a couple dozen drivers left to work elsewhere.
Drivers wanted the $452 a week they paid to lease the cars lowered to compensate for the falling ridership. Farnham said the deal would have dropped it to $404 starting immediately, but it would have climbed back to $452 by the end of the five-year agreement.
There was also a 20-cent raise on the meter that would have went to drivers, along with three days off a year for drivers who get sick or injured. As it stands now, Farnham said that drivers who rent cars on a weekly basis still have to pay the full amount if they’re off for anything, including sickness or being injured in a robbery or car crash.
Negotiators also got drivers a new family day holiday. In addition, the company agreed to pay $1 increase to $17.50 per month for life insurance for the drivers. The employer also agreed to a reduction in plate leases from $167.47 to $136.50
© Copyright (c) The Windsor Star
WINDSOR, Ont. -- Negotiations have resumed between Veteran Cab and its drivers, who have been on strike since April 2.
"I'm cautiously optimistic we are going to get a deal," said CAW Local 195 president Gerry Farnham.
Farnham said the company contacted the union on Monday offering to resume negotiations, something Farnham said was positive.
There are no face-to-face negotiations yet, Farnham said.
"The company has presented us with an offer," said Farnham.
Both sides are at their respective offices and paperwork is being delivered from one to the other, he said.
The nearly 300 striking drivers are fighting for a reduction of the $453 a week lease fees they have to pay to the company.
CAW local 195 and veteran Cab Company meeting Today.
A meeting will be held between the Company and the union today, hoping to end the 97 days strike.
Jerry Farnham, CAW local 195 president, announced yestarday afternoon that the company contacted the union with a new offer and they are going to meet Tuesday,July 07,2009 in order to end the bitter dispute, which starts its thirteen weeks.
After , Veteran cab drivers started their fourth months of the strike ,A letter from the city of Windsor has been send Friday, July 03,2009 to all plate holders working with Veteran cab Company warning them of the possibility of revocation or suspensions of their plates, if it exceed more than 120 days out of service .
the licences plates have been out of service since April 02 when Veteran cab drivers started their Strike.
the 120 days will be on effect on August 02,2009 .
In accordance with the taxi by-laws, a Windsor licensing Commission hearing has been scheduled for August 4,2009 at 10:00 a.m. in the Board Room # 407,locatd on the 4th Floor at city Hall Square East.
Veteran Cab talks break off
THE WINDSOR STAR JUNE 30, 2009
Talks broke off on Monday night between the Veteran Cab company and the union representing its drivers.
CAW Local 195 president Gerry Farnham said the latest bargaining session started on Sunday, but ended Monday with only "minor progress" made. "We're still far apart," Farnham said.
No new talks have been scheduled at this time.
Monetary issues have been cited as a sticking point in the negotiations.
© Copyright (c) The Windsor Star
Canwest News Service June 29, 2009
WINDSOR, Ont. — A southern Ontario taxi driver says he and other cabbies were attacked over the weekend by striking union members wielding slingshots and marbles.
Omar Kadri, 34, was behind the wheel of a Checker Cab around 12:25 a.m. Saturday when a marble punched a dent into his driver-side door — just inches below his open window.
"Honestly, it scared the (expletive) out of me," Kadri said.
Kadri said he and others have been targeted as "scabs."
Minutes after the close call, another Checker Cab sustained a shattered rear-passenger window. A black car was seen during both incidents.
Police were called and officers stopped the suspect vehicle; a search of the car revealed a slingshot and a quantity of glass marbles.
The three occupants of the black car were arrested and charged with two counts of mischief and one count of possession of a dangerous weapon.
Charged are Windsor residents David Milling, 39, Antonio Ciampa, 41, and Robert Sevigny, 44.
Union president Gerry Farnham confirmed that Milling and Ciampa are CAW Local 195 members.
The union represents Veteran Cab drivers, who have been on strike since April 2.
Farnham said he cannot comment on the charges but unequivocally denied Kadri's accusation that Local 195 is targeting Checker Cab drivers. None of the drivers were hurt in the incidents.
Good evening Members of Council and your Worship.
As everyone is aware that Veteran Taxi Cab drivers have been involved in a long labour dispute, we are entering week 12.
Understanding that there was a petition brought forth and signed by approximately 200 drivers asking council to intervene by allowing Temporary plates to be put in place.
We as a union do not believe that this will solve the problem as we would have no idea how long or short the temporary plates would be in effect, or how many and who they would go to. Therefore a driver would have to invest approximately $10.000.O0 dollars just to get started, the reason for these cost would be to have a car purchased and painted, a camera purchased and installed, meters purchased and installed ..etc.. Therefore we do not believe putting out temporary plates would be a long term solution. We believe the long term solution is to have One plate One holder to correct this ongoing problem. Therefore we do believe that all Leases should be given only to single drivers versus that of multi-plate holders as many of them lease the plates they hold to multi –car owners.
As the Union Representing over 300 of these drivers we represent all of them which are Single plate holders, Single plate leases and all rental drivers. And it does become difficult to attempt to satisfy all parties.
It is our belief that the current system allows Multi-plate holders to set the price and dictate the amount of these leases.
However we also believe that those rates for leasing should be fair and due to the economic hardship the Municipality of Windsor is currently facing with ridership being down 25 to 30 % . We do not believe these rates are reflecting the recession that we find ourselves in. Reading that the Licensing Commissioner has the power to approve leasing agreements including lease rates under the current by-laws. It is of our opinion that just because these drivers in this dispute are represented by a Union, does not mean that there is no other avenue other than the bargaining process to raise the argument that the current lease rates
are too high. If the taxi cab drivers were not unionized, what avenue would they have in order to claim that there lease agreements are too high, I would suggest that they would attempt through the plate holder. However in the event the holder would not move on that rate, the only other source of power , I believe would be able to access, is that of the Commission. When times were good or even decent the current rate may have been acceptable.
However no one can argue that once again this is the case and therefore we are asking the Commission and or Council to assist in this process and determine as the by-law gives power to and that is to establish an appropriate rate accordingly.
In closing, thank you for your time and consideration with the issues.
CAW VETERAN CAB UNIT JOINED MORE THAN A two THOUSANDS CUPE SUPPORTERS COME FROM ACROSS THE PROVINCE TO WINDSOR TO SHOW SUPPORT AND SOLIDARITIES TO THE CITY OF WINDSOR EMPLOYEES WHOSE ON STRIKE FOR MORE THAN TWO MONTHS.
June 12 ,2009 .
Drivers marching to the city Hall to join CUPE supporters.
(Photograph by: JALAL)
CAW LOCAL 195 , JERRY FARNHAM SPEAKING AT CUPE RALLY OUTSIDE CITY HALL
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT VETERAN CAB AND CUPE RALLY CLICK ON CUPE RALLY
for more photos please click PHOTO GALARY at the left side.