Unifor stands up for travelers and fairness

May 27, 2015, 16:21 ET from Unifor

TORONTO, May 27, 2015 /CNW/ - About 300 airport limousine drivers, members of Unifor Local 252, marched through the Arrivals area of Pearson Airport today to highlight the inconvenience to travelers and unfairness to drivers of a GTAA decision to move limos away from the main arrival doors.

The move leaves the prime pick-up area open to Uber drivers to scoop up unsuspecting travelers arriving at Pearson from around the world. The Greater Toronto Airports Authority implemented the new policy May 5.

"We are here today to tell the GTAA we paid for this door, and we want it back," said Unifor National Representative Barry Lines, outside the main domestic arrivals door at the airport.

Lines said the drivers will hold another rally at the airport on Friday at 1:30pm, unless the issue is resolved by then, and plan to continue their efforts into the summer.

Limo drivers pay the GTAA $7,400 per driver per year, plus other fees. For decades, the fees allowed them to line up outside the main arrivals doors at the airport, where travelers could just hop into a car. Under the new policy, that space is open only to pre-arranged rides, including Uber.

GTAA Commissioners with walkie talkies help travelers get rides, often shuttling them to Uber drivers, called Scoopers by the limo drivers. While the limo drivers must continue to pay the GTAA fee, but without access to the prime curb space, Uber drivers don't pay that fee and now dominate the space.

"All we want is fairness," Lines said. "We pay an anti-scooping fee to keep Scoopers out."

Lines said the move is causing inconvenience for travelers, who now often arrive to find no cars waiting for them, and costing drivers two to three rides a day – which adds up to hundreds of dollars in lost income every week.

Unifor will continue to meet with the GTAA to reverse its decision, and to publicly protest the move.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.