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Teamsters-UPS Reach Settlement in Principle on UPS Agreement

Teamsters UPS National Negotiating Committee Reaches Settlement in Principle on National Master UPS Agreement The National Negotiating Committee has agreed to a settlement in principle on the National Master UPS agreement, subject to the resolution of supplemental agreements and approval by UPS local unions.

ABF Teamsters Say Yes in The West

May 10, 2018 - Teamsters employed at ABF Freight System have ratified the National Master portion of the agreement, 3705 (58.5%) YES, 2637 (41.5%) NO. There was a 67.3% turnout with a total of 6342 votes cast out of 9441 total eligible voters.
Download: abf-results-2018&Article.pdf

The Workplace Democracy Act Gives Hope To Workers

The Workplace Democracy Act  May 9, 2018 -The Teamsters are endorsing legislation introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today that would enhance the ability of workers to organize and fight for better wages, benefits and working conditions on the job.
Download: Workplace-Democracy-Act.pdf , workplace-democracy-act-summary.pdf

ABF Teamsters 2018 Tentative Agreement

Today in Chicago, Il, leaders of local unions that represent ABF Teamsters met and overwhelmingly approved the tentative ABF National Master Freight Agreement and supplements, paving the way for a member ratification vote to begin later this month.

Tentative Agreement Reach at ABF

The Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee (TNFINC) and ABF Freight System reached a tentative contract agreement, Ernie Soehl, Co-Chairman of the TNFINC, announced today.
Download: abf_update_march_28_0.pdf

Janus vs Fair Share Fees

Janus vs. Fair Share Fees The organizations financing the attack on unions’ ability to represent workers Written By EPI  Over the last decade, a number of cases attacking the rights of public-sector union members have been quietly working their way through the courts and, finally, up to the U.S. Supreme Court. The most recent of these challenges is Janus v.
Download: Fair_Share_Fees&Janus.pdf

Teamsters at Working People’s Day of Action

Working People’s Day of Action in Albuquerque Today Saturday, February 24, New Mexico stood with thousands of working people across America as workers unite and demand an end to a system and an economy that’s rigged against us by the wealthy and powerful. Hundreds showed up at Nob Hill and viewed the Teamster Joint Council #3 Truck as the backdrop for the event.

ABF NEGOTIATIONS - TEAMSTERS MAKE PROGRESS

TEAMSTERS MAKE PROGRESS THIS WEEK AT ABF NEGOTIATIONS This week, the Teamster National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee (TNFINC) and ABF Freight resumed bargaining for a new national collective bargaining agreement and the Union reported progress on some of the issues. The current agreement is set to expire on March 31, 2018.
Download: abf_update_feb_16_web.pdf

Teamsters 492 Training Classes

Teamsters Local 492 will be conducting a Forklift Safety Certification Class (1 Day Course) and will also hold separate classes for OSHA 10 (2 Day Course) along with the Haz-Com/GHS (3 hour refresher). Only online registration will be accepted, to register, Click HERE.

2018 NM Film Week Schedule

Film Week starts tomorrow with the Tune Up Tuesday mixer from 5:30-7 pm at the Hotel Santa Fe. Representative Bill McCamley will be present to discuss the NM House Labor & Economic Development Committee's options around the incentives program.
Download: 2018_Film_week_schedule.pdf


Teamster News Headlines
 
Intermodal Transportation Workers in California Ratify First Teamsters Contract
Coca-Cola Beverages Florida Workers Join Teamsters Local 769
Teamsters UPS National Negotiating Committee Reaches Settlement in Principle on National Master UPS Agreement
Teamsters Weekly Updates - Ending June 21, 2018
Teamsters Stand in Solidarity with UFCW, Condemn Raids on Workers
Click Here to Contact Your Local Union & Get INVOLVED!
BMWED Members Elect Officers
BMWED Members Convene Fourth Regular Convention
Opioid Epidemic's Other Battleground: Teamsters vs. McKesson
What You and Your Family Need to Know
 
     
Contact Elected Officials!
Current Campaigns
  • This Web page provides the latest updates for the national contract, riders and supplements that cover about 3,500 Teamsters at DHL Express.

  • We Are eXPOsing XPO’s Global Greed

    XPO Logistics is a top ten global logistics and transportation company with annual revenue of $15 billion and 89,000 employees, another 10,000 workers classified as independent contractors, and thousands more working for firms that subcontract with XPO. We are the REAL workers at XPO Logistics worldwide exposing the truth about the company’s global greed, illegal wage theft, unsafe conditions, and abhorrent and vicious anti-worker, anti-union tactics. 

    This greed includes mistreating former Con-way Freight workers in the United States who are being kept in the dark about terminal closures and layoffs, and the company’s illegal refusal to bargain contracts and denying their workers’ federally protected right to organize. It also includes port, rail and last-mile drivers around the country and in Southern California fighting wage theft in excess of $200 million because they are misclassified as independent contractors and denied the right to form their union. This greed has caused numerous lawsuits and strikes.  Greed also means an unsafe workplace and mistreating its warehouse employees.

    XPO’s greed extends to Europe beginning with breaking its promise to not layoff any workers for at least 18 months. French workers and the unions have been fighting back against XPO’s disrespect, lies and attempts to slash jobs. Similar struggles are taking place in Great Britain, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, and across Europe.

    Join the worldwide struggle now! Get involved with this campaign by joining the Facebook group “XPO Exposed.”

    Together, we can eXPOse the company’s global greed and win fairness, respect and dignity for tens of thousands of XPO employees around the world!

  • This page provides the latest contract information to the 7,500 Teamsters—drivers, dockworkers and office staff—employed by ABF Freight System, Inc.

  • Workers’ pensions are being endangered by both Congress and those charged with overseeing them. The Teamsters and our members are standing united to say “No!” to cuts and “Yes!” to greater retirement security!

  • The ‘Let’s Get America Working!’ campaign seeks to restore a dynamic and prosperous middle class to drive economic growth by helping to advance policy decisions that create and maintain good middle-income jobs, guarantee retirement security, expand access to the American Dream, and ensure that the benefits of the ongoing economic recovery are felt by the many, not just the few.

  • This webpage provides information on the Teamsters Union’s legislative advocacy at both the federal and state level as well as our field activity to support those policy positions and to get strong labor candidates elected to office.  Among other resources, you will find our federal legislative scorecard, formal statements of policy position and communications to Capitol Hill,  a weekly update on federal legislative happenings, an overview of bills we are tracking at the state level, and quick links to take action on priority issues.

  • This web page provides information on the ongoing effort to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Since 1994, NAFTA has devastated working families, putting corporate profits ahead of people.  What’s worse is that NAFTA has become the blueprint for all other trade agreements, from the way that it was negotiated in secret, to the bad provisions that have made their way into every agreement that has been signed since then.  Now, NAFTA is being renegotiated and we demand that it be reframed to work for workers instead of corporate interests.

  • The Teamsters have stood in solidarity with worker struggles in other countries since our founding. With economic globalization, our ability to organize increasingly depends on our ability to build alliances with workers on a global scale.
    More than ever, Teamsters are organizing and bargaining with multi-national companies. A key objective of our Global Strategies Campaign is to build strong alliances with unions around the globe who organize and bargain with common employers. Our focus is on workers in the emerging global supply chains – the infrastructure of globalization.
    Globalization creates new opportunities for international worker solidarity. We seek common cause with workers around the world to build social justice for all workers and the communities in which they live.

  • The contributions of black members to the success of the Teamsters Union are numerous, varied and as old as the union itself. This month, the Teamsters Union spotlights some of those contributions.

Know Your Rights In The Workplace!
Updated On: Dec 21, 2017

When a non-union employee approaches the Union for help, the Union will always give free advice on how the individual can possibly fix this issue they are having. Those that seek help are typically not only interested in their own personal issue, but will often ask if there is a possibility to unionize their work site. The Union will usually then look into how much interest there is in the “bargaining unit.”   

Despite what you made read or “hear”, Unions are not out there trying to force workers to join the Union. Unions simply fill the void by giving the workers a powerful voice at work and Unions answer the call when requested by the employees for help dealing with an employer that may not be treating them properly. It’s not about dues, it’s about helping workers have a collective voice. Yes, the dues/service fees are necessary because how else can any organization help anyone without funding. When looking in to the situation of the possible bargaining unit of the employee lodging a complaint, sometimes the Union will find out that there are only a select few employees having issues with the employer. In those cases, the Union just tries to advise the individual on their specific issue. If there seems to be a lot of interest with a majority of the employees in the unit, the Union will petition the NLRB for an election. If the company agrees to card check neutrality, the employer is agreeing not to interfere in the employees’ decisions about whether to join the Union, and the employees and the Union agree not to disrupt the workplace through strikes, picketing or boycotts. Unfortunately, the company will rarely grant card check neutrality because they do not want to give up any amount of control they have to their workers.  

Why Go Union? What Is A Union?

Article written by JC#3:

What is a union?

A union is a group of employees who join together within a company to bargain collectively for better wages, stronger benefits and safer working conditions.

What do unions do?

A union's primary objective is to secure good contracts for its members and to enforce the provisions of that contract. The union also administers some of the contract's important benefits directly. Often these include health plans, pensions and labor/management partnerships and trusts.

How do you organize with the Teamsters?

Employees who want to join the Teamsters sign a "union authorization card." When a majority of employees sign cards, they are forwarded, in most cases, to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB then schedules and conducts a secret ballot election. In some cases, when a majority of workers sign cards the company will recognize the union.

When the union is certified, the company is required by law to bargain over wages, benefits and working conditions. The laws governing public sector and the airline industry are different.

If I sign an authorization do I have to vote yes in the election? What if I change my mind?

The Teamsters are committed to organizing workers that want Teamster representation. Organizing is not about holding a vote; it is about gaining a voice in the workplace.

When the NLRB conducts a union election it's a secret ballot. No one has any right to know how you voted.

How does the union work out problems with management?

Through the grievance procedure: The contract spells out what the grievance procedures are and explains how conflicts are to be resolved.

When management engages in unfair conduct or violate a provision of the contract there are steps spelled out in the contract to resolve the problem. First, talk with your supervisor. When he or she refuses to do anything about it, go to your Teamster shop steward for help. The steward sits down with you and management and tries to talk about the issue. If it can't be resolved at this meeting, a business agent from the union approaches the company to discuss the issue. If the problem still cannot be resolved to everyone's satisfaction, the business agent appeals to upper management. If this step fails, both parties bring in a neutral arbitrator to hear evidence and order a final resolution of the problem.

What are shop stewards and business agents?

A shop steward is one of your co-workers, who acts as an agent of the union in the workplace. The union membership and the Teamster local union determines procedures for electing shop stewards and negotiates how many stewards are in each job location, shift and department. The steward's job is to make sure your company lives up to your contract. When there is a problem with management and you need union help, your first stop should be a visit with your shop steward.

A business agent is an official of your local union who handles any problems the shop steward cannot.

What is a "bargaining unit"?

A bargaining unit is made up of all the employees who are eligible to vote for and be in the union.

Who negotiates your contract?

The Teamsters and the company each choose their own negotiators. The company's team is usually comprised of lawyers, local management and upper management officials. The union team usually consists of bargaining unit employees and expert union negotiators.

What kind of say do I get in the contract?

Before contract talks start, the union asks you what you'd like to see in a contract. Usually the union sends out a survey to all a bargaining unit's members. Once the contract has been negotiated it's submitted to you and your co-workers for ratification. If a majority doesn't approve of the contract, your negotiating team goes back to the drawing board.

How long do contracts last?

Usually 3 to 5 years.

What are union dues? What are they used for?

Union dues are the money you pay to the union to help pay for support staff, legal costs, negotiation costs, arbitrator's fees, etc.

What's a "local"?

The Teamsters have a structure that includes a national body, intermediaries, and local unions. Most decisions are made at the state and local union level.

So what does the "International" do?

The International's responsibilities include; lobbying Congress for laws that benefit workers, sending help to locals that need it and coordinating national organizing efforts.

How democratic are unions?

The whole process is open and democratic. You decide if you want to sign an authorization card. You decide whether to vote "yes" on joining the union. You decide which co-workers you want on your negotiating team. You decide what to tell your negotiators you want in a contract. You vote on the contract once it's negotiated. You vote on who will be your shop steward. You vote on who will be the officers of your local.

Organize To Protect Your Future and Your Families Future!

The condition of the economy brings about uncertainty for all of our futures. Talk with your co-workers during break, at lunch, before or after work see what their feelings are about uniting to protect one another.

The membership is the backbone of any union. With the Teamsters Union, our structure enables one person one vote, at every level, including the vote for International General President.

United workers make up the union, along with experienced and knowledgeable leadership. The Teamsters have some of the best contracts in the country, negotiated by talented professionals after many hours with the member negotiating committee. If you agree that joining the Teamsters will be in the best interest for the workers at your job site, a unified voice that promotes respect on the job, better working conditions, fair wages, benefits, job security, etc. all of which will be spelled out in your labor agreement, then Please Click Here To Contact Us. Let Us Help You Organize Your Workplace Today!

Know Your Rights!

You have the right to:

Article Written by Working America

A Safe Workplace

Employers are required to provide a workplace free of recognized health and safety hazards. You have the right to file complaints with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, to bring job safety hazards to your employer’s attention without retaliation and to get information from your employer about hazardous workplace exposures.

Overtime Pay

Employers must pay you overtime at the rate of one-and-a-half times the normal rate of pay if you work more than 40 hours in a week. However, many workers—such as managers, professionals and certain sales employees—are exempt from overtime pay.

Equal Pay

Employers may not pay unequal wages to men and women who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility, and that are performed under similar working conditions within the same company.

Family and Medical Leave

You have the right to up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave on the birth or adoption of a child, to care for seriously ill family members or to recover from your own illness. To be eligible for this leave, you must have worked for 12 months and for at least 1,250 hours for the same employer with more than 50 employees.

A Workplace Without Discrimination

No employer can discriminate in hiring, firing, pay or promotions based on:

  • Age—The law protects workers 40 and older.
  • Disability—Employers must make reasonable accommodations for an otherwise qualified person with a disability to do his or her job.
  • Gender.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Race, color, ethnicity or national origin.
  • Religion.
  • Immigrant status—It is illegal to refuse to hire someone because of an accent or because that person was born in a foreign country. Employers have a duty to verify that every worker hired is authorized to work, but it is illegal to assume that a worker is undocumented just because he or she has a foreign name, speaks with an accent or was born in another country.

A Workplace Without Sexual Harassment

It is illegal to be forced to agree to sexual favors to keep your job or get a promotion or job benefit. It also is illegal to be subjected to severe and pervasive comments or behavior at your workplace that create a hostile work environment.

Join or Form a Union

You have the legal right to join or support a union and negotiate contracts with your employer. You have the right to decide for yourself whether you want union representation, free from employer intimidation and interference.

Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment benefits are available to jobless workers who can prove they have been in the labor force and meet other requirements imposed by their states and the federal government.

  • To file a safety and health complaint, call OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). Contact your state workers’ compensation board for information about workplace injury compensation. To file overtime pay or Family Medical Leave Act complaints, call the U.S. Department of Labor at 1-866-4USWAGE (487-9243).
  • To file equal pay or discrimination complaints, call the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at 1-800-669-4000 (1-800-669-6820 for TTY).
  • If you’ve been sexually harassed, write down a record of the harassment incidents. Follow your employer’s internal complaint procedure. To file charges with the EEOC, call 1-800-669-4000.
  • If you’ve been threatened, transferred or fired because of your union activity, contact the National Labor Relations Board at 1-866-667-NLRB (6572) to file charges.
  • To file for unemployment benefits, contact your state unemployment office.

Know Your Rights!

January 17, 2013- Article Written By the IBT

The Anti-Discrimination Provision Of The Immigration And Nationality Act (INA)

The U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division has an office dedicated to ensuring that employers are not discriminating against work-authorized individuals based on their national origin or immigration status. It is unlawful to fire or refuse to hire certain workers because of where they are from or because they are not U.S. citizens. The law also protects workers where employers discriminate against them by asking for too many work-authorization documents or by rejecting valid documents.

Q: How can I tell if an employer is violating the law?

A: An employer may be discriminating based on citizenship or national origin in employment if the employer:

  • Specifically asks a worker for a “green card.”

  • Asks certain workers for more documents than needed to complete the I-9 form.

  • Rejects valid work authorization documents.

  • Refuses to allow certain workers to begin working based on a name and Social Security number no-match.

  • Refuses to hire refugees and asylees because they don’t have Social Security numbers or green cards.

  • Only hires U.S. citizens (unless that policy is specifically required by law).

  • Asks certain workers for work authorization documents before offering them jobs.

  • Fires work-authorized workers for lying about their prior undocumented status, but has not fired other workers for lying about different aspects of their background.

Q: What about E-Verify?

A: An employer’s use of E-Verify may be discriminatory if the employer treats workers differently during the E-Verify process based on national origin or citizenship or immigration status, such as if it:

  • Runs certain workers through E-Verify before offering them jobs.

  • Asks certain workers to run themselves through E-Verify’s Self Check.

  • Uses E-Verify to check only some, but not all, new workers.

  • Refuses to allow certain workers to contest “tentative nonconfirmations” (TNCs).

  • Refuses to allow certain workers to work while contesting TNCs.

Q: What should I do if I think I or someone I know has been discriminated against in hiring or firing based on national origin or citizenship status?

A: Call the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) at the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice on its Worker Hotline at 1-800-255-7688, 9am-5pm, E.S.T. (TTY for the hearing impaired: 1-800-237-2515). 
You do not have to provide your name, and telephone interpreters are available in many languages as needed. It is unlawful to intimidate, threaten, or retaliate against anyone for contacting the Hotline, assisting in any way in an investigation, or filing a charge with OSC.

For more information, to obtain outreach materials or a charge form, or to learn about OSC’s new worker webinars call the Hotline or visit http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc.

___________________________________________________________________________________

Do We Really Need Unions In America?What Do Unions Do For Me?

By Teamsters492.org Webmaster, Trey White

I am always amazed when I hear some say to me, “I don’t need the Union; I do my job!” That may be true, you may be the best at your job and never do anything wrong, but the Union still helps you in ways you probably are not aware of or are thankful for because they have always been there for you so you feel that’s just normal.

If you work in a Union job, you are most likely benefiting from higher wages and benefits like paid retirements, paid holidays and the big one these days; paid insurance. Even if you have to pay a little towards some of these things, you are still probably better off than your non-union counter-parts. You may not have chosen to work there because it is a Union job, but the reasons that you do work there were more than likely made possible by the very Union you don’t think you need.

The fact is; Unions raise the wages and benefits for everyone in this country, even non-union workers. The non-union competitors must keep their wages fair because if they don’t, two things will happen the non-union company does not want; first the employees will start to leave and then the remaining employees will start reaching out to Unions to organize them, we see this all the time. Companies do not want either to happen, so they try to keep their employees just happy enough to avoid it. But if there were no Unions, there would be no threat. Then wages, benefits and overall working conditions would drop.

The decline of membership in Unions coincides with the decline in middle-class income:

If you are still not convinced, read the list of benefits below that most Americans take advantage of, (even management) that would not exist if not for Unions making them happen.   

Did you know that labor unions made the following 36 things possible?

  1. Weekends off
  2. All breaks at work, including your lunch breaks
  3. Paid vacation
  4. Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  5. Sick leave
  6. Social Security
  7. Minimum wage
  8. Civil Rights Act/Title VII - prohibits employer discrimination
  9. 8-hour work day
  10. Overtime pay
  11. Child labor laws
  12. Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA)
  13. 40-hour work week
  14. Workers' compensation (workers' comp)
  15. Unemployment insurance
  16. Pensions
  17. Workplace safety standards and regulations
  18. Employer health care insurance
  19. Collective bargaining rights for employees
  20. Wrongful termination laws
  21. Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
  22. Whistleblower protection laws
  23. Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) - prohibits employers from using a lie detector test on an employee
  24. Veteran's Employment and Training Services (VETS)
  25. Compensation increases and evaluations (i.e. raises)
  26. Sexual harassment laws
  27. Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
  28. Holiday pay
  29. Employer dental, life, and vision insurance
  30. Privacy rights
  31. Pregnancy and parental leave
  32. Military leave
  33. The right to strike
  34. Public education for children
  35. Equal Pay Acts of 1963 & 2011 - requires employers pay men and women equally for the same amount of work
  36. Laws ending sweatshops in the United States

_______________________________________________________________

Card Check and Neutrality

What is a “card count neutrality agreement,” and why is it more democratic than an election?

Growing numbers of workers and their employers are forming collective bargaining relationships by using “card count neutrality” or “card check neutrality” agreements.

Through card count, the employer agrees to recognize the Union as the official bargaining agent of the employees once a third party verifies that a majority of the entire group of employees has signed Union membership cards. The employer then agrees to begin negotiating for a first contract as soon as it recognizes the Union, avoiding prolonged legal delays.

Neutrality means that the employer agrees not to interfere in the employees’ decisions about whether to join the Union, and the employees and the Union agree not to disrupt the workplace through strikes, picketing or boycotts. In most card count neutrality agreements, binding arbitration is included to quickly resolve conflicts.

Wouldn’t an election be more democratic?

The card count is an election, and Union authorization cards are the “ballots.” Employees elect to have the Union represent them by signing an agency agreement—the same way people usually appoint their representatives, such as attorneys.

It might seem that a National Labor Relations Board-sponsored election would be the most democratic means of deciding the question of unionization. But these elections for Union representation, characterized by intense anti-union campaigns, are not like other types of elections because of the inherent coercive power an employer holds over an employee, i.e., the power to deprive a person of his or her livelihood.

This imbalance of power is unparalleled in any other type of election in our society. Even if the employer does not expressly threaten employees with adverse consequences if they support the Union, employees can’t help but be aware of this possibility any time an employer makes known his opposition to unionization.

Recent laws against sexual harassment illustrate this workplace dynamic. These legal decisions recognize that it can be inherently coercive for a supervisor to say or do certain things in the workplace (such as ask a subordinate out on a date) which if done in another context might be considered quite innocuous. Because a supervisor has power over a subordinate, the subordinate implicitly understands that the supervisor may retaliate in some way if a request is refused.

With respect to unionization, the Supreme Court observed as long ago as 1940, that “[s]light suggestions” of employer preference have a “telling effect among men who know the consequences of incurring that employer’s strong displeasure.”1

According to one of the world’s premier human rights organizations, American Union representation elections under the National Labor Relations Act do not adequately account for this imbalance of power, and thus fail to provide a fair democratic process for workers to exercise their right to form a Union.

A recent report from Human Rights Watch entitled Unfair Advantage: Workers’ Freedom of Association in the United States Under International Human Rights Standards, lays out four major problems with U.S. labor law:2

1. Millions of workers are excluded from protection when exercising their right to associate. “Workers who fall under these exclusions can be summarily fired with impunity for seeking to form and join a Union. Even where the employer does not fire them, workers’ requests to bargain collectively can be ignored.”

2. Protections for workers covered by the law are inadequate.
U.S. labor law covering elections fails to meet international human rights standards because it allows actions with coercive effects to be used against employees. “Under U.S. law, employers and consultants have refined methods of legally “predicting”--as distinct from unlawfully threatening--workplace closures, firings, wage and benefit cuts and other dire consequences if workers form and join a trade Union.”

3. When the laws are broken, enforcement is weak.
“[T]he board’s authority to seek injunctions to halt employers’ unfair labor practices, however egregious and destructive of workers’ rights such practices might be, is only discretionary and is rarely used by the NLRB... [A]buses should carry a meaningful price so that remedies and sanctions have a deterrent value.”

An employer who illegally fires key Union supporters often succeeds in breaking an organizing drive. Even if the fired employees succeed after years of litigation in proving that their employer was motivated by anti-union animosity, all they will collect is back pay minus any interim earning or what the NLRB thinks they should have been able to earn from substitute employment. Many employers consider this a cheap price to pay for breaking a Union organizing drive.

4. The NLRB election process is full of legal delays. “Long delays in the U.S. labor law system confound workers’ exercise of the right to freedom of association.”
• Before the election: “[T]he election can be held up for months by employer-initiated disputes over which workers should be eligible to vote in the election as part of the ‘appropriate bargaining unit.’”
• After the election: “...[T]he employer can then undertake what is called a ‘technical refusal to bargain’ to obtain judicial review of the NLRB’s decision... A technical refusal to bargain forces workers and the NLRB to launch a new case, this time an unfair labor practice complaint against the employer’s refusal to bargain. The new case often requires years more to resolve in the courts.” By contract, our nation stood transfixed as the outcome of the last presidential election was delayed only several weeks.

In a Union representation election, the choice the workers make is whether they will be represented at all and, if so, by what Union. They are deciding about representation at the bargaining table in direct negotiations with their employer.

If an employee were to sue his or her employer, the law would never tolerate interference by the employer in the worker’s choice of an attorney. Yet, in the case of an NLRB election, the procedures used for workers to select their representative at the bargaining table allow employers to use their tremendous inherent advantages to campaign for a no vote.

A fair and constructive alternative

It has not always been so. The Wagner Act of 1935 (the National Labor Relations Act) established the NLRB. The original standard for a fair recognition process was that the debate about whether or not to establish a Union was exclusively among the employees. Any anti-union statement by an employer was considered an unfair labor practice.
For many years before the enactment of the NLRA and persisting after it was passed, there were several means of determining majority support among employees: counting the membership cards, examining a roster of members, essentially “any other suitable method.”

Employers later began to insist on NLRB elections because it gave them an opportunity to campaign against the Union and to use the court system to delay recognizing and negotiating with Unions.

The NLRB election process is often called the “traditional” method, but it is much more recent than card count and has not been the way that most collective bargaining relationships in the United states have been established, both before and after the NLRA came into existence.Card count neutrality agreements are the fair and appropriate method of determining if employees wish to be represented by a Union. They permit workers to express their wishes without undue influence from their employer. They allow the parties to avoid the extended, often bitter, and wholly unfair election process. Human Rights Watch observed, NLRB elections too often involve intense, acrimony-filled campaigns marked by heated rhetoric and attacks on the motives of both employers and Union advocates. The bitterness of a representation campaign can poison chances of a mutually beneficial bargaining relationship.

Experience demonstrates that where workers and employers can agree to use card checks that genuinely reflect workers’ free choice, with safeguards against coercion by management, by Union representatives or by coworkers, they can combine the benefits of freedom of choice and a mutually respectful relationship that carries over into collective bargaining. Public policy should encourage the use of voluntary card-check agreements as an alternative means of establishing workers’ majority sentiment and collective bargaining rights.

The Dunlop Commission Report also noted “card check agreements build trust between Union and employer and avoid expending public and private resources on unnecessary election campaigns. Such agreements are a classic example of potential or former adversaries creating a win-win situation for themselves.”3

Recent card count neutrality agreements

In recent years, more employers and Unions have returned to the use of card count agreements as a way to respect employees’ right to organize and establish positive management-labor relations.

At the University of Washington, the Administration agreed to recognize the Graduate Student Employee Action Coalition immediately upon verification of signed cards of a majority of graduate employees. Other employers who have agreed to card count neutrality agreements include: Kaiser Permanente, U.S. Steel, AT&T, Safeway, Anheuser-Busch, UPS and Hilton hotels.

Other types of employees using such agreements include: Nurses, doctors, electricians and other skilled tradespeople, auto workers, communications workers, hotel and casino employees.

Card-count recognition has long been recognized as a valid method for determining employees’ choice not only under the National Labor Relations Act, but under the Railway Labor Act and public sector collective bargaining laws. In Canada, the law in nine of the ten provinces and that governing federal labor relations not only permits but requires this form of recognition.

And employer neutrality and card count procedures are fully consistent with the NLRA, which declares that it is the policy of the United States “[to encourage] the practice and procedure of collective bargaining and [to protect] the exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing, for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment or other mutual aid or protection.”4

Notes
1. International Association of Machinists v. NLRB, 311 U.S. 72 (1940).
2. All quotations from Human Rights Watch are from Unfair Advantage: Workers’ Freedom of Association in the United States Under International Human Rights Standards, August 2000. 
3. Commission onthe Future of Worker-Management Relations, “Report and Recommendations,” 1994, p. 20.
4. National Labor Relations Act, sec. 7, 29 U.S.C. sec. 157.


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Do We Really Need Unions In America?
The Cost of a Decline in Unions
What Is Card Check Neutrality?
June 25, 2018
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