Las Vegas cabbies may be about to find out what happens when you hold a boycott and it doesn’t quite get the reaction aimed for.
As part of a series of rolling boycotts, Vegas Drivers Unite (VDU) announced another one for the New York-New York Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The boycott began Thursday morning at midnight and will last until 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, according to the VDU website.
Mad as Hell
VDU plans to boycott one hotel per month each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. In June, it was the Bellagio. The plan as of now is for the grassroots campaign to then strike at the Mandalay Bay and its sister property the Delano in August.
“Major hotel properties, thru [sic] their actions of promoting ride share companies, are sending the message that Taxi Drivers are not valued nor wanted on their properties,” a statement on the website reads. It goes on to say that “though these actions are unfortunate, management needs to see what happens when the Cabs Don’t Show Up!”
But it may be the cab drivers themselves who see what happens, because it could well be absolutely nothing.
Plight of the Industry
It’s printed in big, bold red print on the website for Vegas Driver Unite: “2018 will be devastating for most drivers in this industry.”
That prediction is proving to be true. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported trips dropped by over 10 percent in May compared to 2017. That coincided with an over 12 percent revenue drop for the same period. For the year, rides are down over 12 percent and revenue is down over 13 percent for the industry as a whole, the R-J reported.
It’s fair to wonder how noticeable the boycotts will actually be.
Taxi drivers not showing up at all to pick up passengers hasn’t helped their cause. One instance reported by the R-J led to an internal investigation by the manager of Western Cab Company, who was ultimately discovered to have never even ordered a cab for the waiting customer in question. That customer ultimately simply gave up and presumably found another mode of transportation.
But Nevada Taxicab Authority Administrator Scott Whittemore insists he hasn’t received a single written or emailed complaint about no-show drivers in the last 12 months.
Not all taxi drivers in the valley are on board with the protest. The amusing taxi driver “day in the life” Twitter account @LVCabChronicles, operated by Las Vegas driver Andrew Gnatovich, demonstrated the pushback.
The word is out that cabbies in #Vegas are organizing boycotts of major hotel properties to protest #Uber. For the record, and while I’ll probably get some grief for this, I cannot support such a measure. I believe this tactic is woefully misguided and is sure to backfire.
— LV Cabbie Chronicles (@LVCabChronicles) March 14, 2018
“Who comes up with this s—?: he also tweeted in April. ” … Moving it around at different times just confuses people and Bellagio is one of the most cabbie friendly properties in town. So glad I’m not a part of this.”
The coalition of cab drivers across the Las Vegas Valley came into 2018 expecting a fight. This weekend, they’re taking that fight to businesses they say “don’t value the important work we do.” They may be finding out that’s just the writing on the wall these days.