Information on airport taxi lockout at Ottawa International AirportOctober 14, 2015
At their last meeting, the CAPE National Executive passed a motion expressing solidarity with the Ottawa Airport taxi drivers, represented by Unifor Local 1688, who continue to be locked out of the taxi stand at the Ottawa International Airport.
The lockout occurred when the Ottawa International Airport Authority and Coventry Connections (the drivers’ dispatch employer) tried to impose a massive fee hike (an estimated 400%) on the airport taxi drivers. This outrageous fee increase amounts to a huge wage rollback for drivers, a group that has already been struggling to make a living wage. These drivers already pay a high premium to be allowed to pick up passengers at the airport. Also, they are suffering a significant loss in income to Uber drivers who are undercutting licensed and unionized drivers by trying to operate outside of the regulated taxi industry.
Please support the drivers by finding another form of ground transportation to your destination after landing in Ottawa. For example, you can take a Number 97 OC Transpo bus from the stop at the arrivals level. It offers quick service to downtown and to the West end of the City, stopping at major connecting bus hubs along the way. There is also a privately run bus shuttle to downtown destinations.
Unifor says that any taxi driver who offers to take you from the airport taxi stand is undermining the impact of their already severely limited ability to fight this lock out. Please note that there is no issue with taking a unionized taxi to the Ottawa airport.
Workers who are locked out (or on strike), have a constitutionally protected right to freedom of assembly. This includes forming picket lines at job sites. However, the Airport Authority obtained two court injunctions to severely restrict the driver’s right to legal protest at, and near, the airport - their workplace. For example, the number of protesters "allowed" to protest has been limited to just 20 - including family members or community supporters - and contains them to a specific and small area. Even leafleting - a vital form of political free speech - has been restricted. The restrictions contained within these injunctions set a deeply disturbing precedent that could possibly impact all workers in the future.
To show additional solidarity with the drivers, write to the Ottawa Airport Authority urging them to negotiate a fair settlement to the dispute over the fees. The names of the Authority’s Directors are on the Authority’s web site, and there is contact form. In addition, you may also with to write to Mayor Jim Watson, to intervene in this dispute given that the City of Ottawa holds two of the 14 seats on the Airport Board of Directors.
Also please note that if the conflict is still ongoing at the time when CAPE will be hosting its Leadership Summit on October 24th, we will arrange transportation for out-of-town participants.
Thank you for your support and solidarity to the airport taxi drivers. We will update you when the situation changes.
CAPE expresses solidarity and support for the hundreds of local airport taxi drivers locked out by their employer.
CAPE condemns the use of injunctions that prevent drivers from exercising their constitutional rights to freedom of assembly which has implications for future job action by all workers who seek to protect and improve their working conditions.
CAPE calls upon all of its members to refrain from using the services of other taxis at the airport, including Uber, during this labour dispute.