Jun 26, 2014
Representatives from Denver International Airport SuperShuttle drivers, members of CWA Local 7777, testified at a Workers Rights Board hearing last week about their employer's unfair and unethical practices during their fight for a fair contract.
The community turns out to support Denver SuperShuttle drivers in the fight for dignity and union protection as they bargain a contract with their employer. SuperShuttle walked away from the bargaining table and imposed a unilateral 30% pay cut on the drivers.
Workers joined CWA after a long fight to get a voice on the job. They've continued to battle the company's anti-worker actions, including its move to unilaterally end negotiations and impose a contract with 30% wage cuts.
Four drivers testified before the board about their experiences with the company and their ongoing campaign to gain a fair contract. A legal expert testified on the exploitative "franchisee agreements" the drivers worked under.
About 75 people attended the hearing, organized by Colorado Jobs with Justice.
Denver community leaders, including politicians, religious leaders and academics, serve on the board. Colorado State Rep. Crisanta Duran committed to sharing the drivers' story with her colleagues in the Colorado State House of Representatives and finding other leverage over SuperShuttle.
Fekadu Ejigdegsew, a SuperShuttle driver since 2004, is one of the workers leading the fight for dignity, respect and fair wages.
"We find that SuperShuttle is violating the human rights and dignity of these workers," the Rev. Anne Dunlap of the United Church of Christ said after the hearing. "We call upon the community to stand with the drivers in their fight for respect and dignity and a fair contract. I strongly condemn the actions of SuperShuttle and how they are treating the drivers. This is America."
The Board said SuperShuttle must stop retaliating against workers, return to the bargaining table to bargain in good faith, and treat all workers with dignity and respect. The Board will release a report documenting their findings and recommendations.
"95% of the drivers voted to join CWA after two years of fighting with the company," Negede Assefa, who has been with SuperShuttle since 2004, said. "Before CWA started helping us organize, everybody was getting abused by the company."
"We came to this country for a better life and to be treated with respect," said Fekadu Ejigdegsew, a SuperShuttle driver since 2004. "We are here to work very hard but [SuperShuttle is] forcing us to get government assistance, which we don't like."
Sitting on the Denver Workers Rights Board are faith leaders, elected officials, academics and community leaders.
The contract, Assefa said, does not pay workers enough to support themselves and their families.
Board participants made commitments to continue working with the SuperShuttle drivers towards their goal of a fair contract and protections on the job. Lisa Duran, Executive Director of Rights for All People (RAP), an immigrant rights organization working in the Latino community of Denver, pledged space at RAP to the African immigrants who make up a majority of SuperShuttle drivers and said she will work closely with the drivers and their families.