Connecticut Limo, the main source of transportation to and from local airports for students at Yale, has run into serious financial trouble in the aftermath of Sept. 11.
Since the terrorist attacks, Connecticut Limo has seen a 40 percent drop in passengers. After failing to turn a profit for months, the company recently laid off 300 of its 500 workers and is redesigning its routes in an effort to stay afloat.
“[Our recovery] depends very much that these planes not fall out of the sky anymore,” Connecticut Limo Director of Operations Mike Booker said.
The company shut down for four days after the attack when nearby airports were closed. The holiday season brought more business, Booker said, but travel remains down.
He added that information from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey indicates that travel may not return to its usual volume until the end of 2002.
Also complicating matters for the company is an eight-month long strike by some of its drivers. Contract negotiations with locals 145 and 443 stopped abruptly last May when the company said that it would no longer recognize the union.
Booker said that after two months of negotiations — but before contracts ran out in May — Connecticut Limo received a petition signed by a majority of the company’s drivers stating that they no longer wanted representation from the union.
“I guess they felt they weren’t getting their bang for their buck,” Booker said.
When Connecticut Limo received the petition, Booker said, the company decided it would not negotiate with the union.
But union representatives told a different story.
“This is nothing about money,” said Donna Lategano, a union steward. “This is about working under contract.”
The unions filed an unfair labor practices charge with the National Labor Relations Board last year. The board will likely announce its decision in February, Lategano said.
“We’re going to be here for the full count — until a final decision is made,” Lategano.
Lategano and Booker differed greatly on their estimates of the number of drivers on strike. Lategano said 125 drivers are not working. Booker said the total was 30 at the most.
“We have a lot more pressing problems than [the strike],” Booker said.
U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro recently brought a group of Connecticut businesses, including Connecticut Limo, before Congress to illustrate the economic fallout from Sept. 11.
Connecticut Limo provides transportation to and from Bradley International Airport, Newark International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport.