Ontario Labour Board Ruling a Victory for Locked Out Limo Drivers

May 12, 2011, 5:00 PM EST

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A ruling today by the Ontario Labour Relations Board to send a contract dispute involving 200 Toronto airport limo drivers to arbitration is a victory for the locked out CAW members and the union as a whole, CAW President Ken Lewenza says.

The drivers are employed by McIntosh, Air Cab and Aaroport, all owned by the same individual, and have been locked out of their jobs since December 1, 2010.

"These workers will be going back to their jobs immediately after months of uncertainty and hardship," said Lewenza. "The incredible solidarity of the membership and their leadership resulted in this win for these workers," Lewenza said.

"This lock-out was totally unnecessary and cruel to this group of workers," said CAW National Representative Sukhvinder Johl. "Yet the fight back by our membership was truly inspiring. With today's decision, our members go back to work immediately while awaiting a final decision by an arbitrator on what their new contract will be."

CAW Local 252 President Abbot Harvey, representing the drivers said that this outcome would not have been possible without the workers sticking together and the great community support they enjoyed. "We particularly want to thank other local unions and members of the Punjabi and broader south Asian communities who showed tremendous support to our members in what was a very difficult situation. We can now look forward to a positive resolution to this long struggle," said Harvey.

CAW Unit Chair Baljit Garcha said he is elated by the board's decision. "Now our members can go back to work and put bread back on the table for their families after six months of struggle," Garcha said. "They can also go back to providing quality service to the public, which they have done for so many years."

The company owner had refused to issue drivers the necessary provincial registration stickers, effectively locking the workers out of their cars and their jobs December 1, 2010. The company owner had left negotiations months ago maintaining the status quo and refusing all union proposals, while demanding an increase to already highly-inflated fees collected by the company.

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