Picketing taxi drivers are back behind the wheel this week after ending nearly a month-long strike.
The union representing the more than 800 drivers with the Edmonton Taxi Service Group (Yellow Cab, Barrel Taxi, Checker and Prestige Cabs) filed strike notice in mid-August.
Now the union has applied to the labour board to dissolve their bargaining rights.
“The strike is in the process of ending,” union rep David Froelich said Tuesday. “It’s unfortunate we were not able to negotiate the first collective agreement. I think it was a hard-fought battle.”
Froelich said there was initially good support – as indicated in a strike vote – “but the employer locked out drivers … and it left a chilling effect on support.”
Fewer drivers participated over time in the strike, making for a small picket line.
“We decided we couldn’t sustain that,” said Froelich.
The drivers who were striking were back at work by the end of last week, according to Phil Strong, president of the Edmonton Taxi Service Group.
Strong said there were only 12 drivers – of 883 – on the picket line.
“Their biggest issue, the insurance surcharge, had no support from the union and the public,” he said.
The union’s biggest concern was the franchise fee, also known as an insurance surcharge or accident penalty, where drivers are charged $6,200 for each accident deemed preventable, along with weekly stand rent.
Froelich said if the drivers were to regroup and consider more strike action, the union could represent them again.