APWU Wins in Private-Sector Campaigns

May 16, 2008

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The APWU reached a tentative agreement May 15 on a “first contract” for approximately 120 workers at the Cincinnati Mail Transportation Equipment Service Center (MTESC). If they ratify the contract in a vote on May 28, workers at the private-sector operation will receive a 10 percent wage increase in July — their first raise in six years.

“This is a very good agreement for a first contract,” said Mark Dimondstein, the APWU’s lead field organizer. “In addition to the whopping 10 percent wage increase in two months, there are solid improvements on many fronts, including just-cause protection, a strong grievance procedure, seniority and bidding rights, and benefits improvements. And we’re especially pleased that it’s a union shop.”

The APWU began negotiating with the employer, the Computer Sciences Corporation, (which also operates MTESCs in six other cities) last September. “This was after a six-year battle in the courts and with the NLRB,” Dimondstein said. “Needless to say, the workers proved to be very resilient, maintaining a union spirit despite the firing of at least one of the main union activists.”

Support Services Division member Elaine Henderson “was our chief spokesperson at the bargaining table and did an outstanding job.” Dimondstein said that Angela Holtgrefe, president of the Greater Cincinnati Area Local, also was crucial to the success of the negotiations.

“Today, we have over 100 new dues-paying members of the APWU,” said Bill Manley, APWU Support Services National Business Agent. “There is much credit to go around to everyone for their effort in making yesterday a day to remember.”

Victory in Des Moines

In another private-sector success story, the APWU has won the right to continue representing 90 mail-haul drivers in Des Moines, despite a relentless anti-union campaign by Mail Contractors of America (MCA).

Des Moines Area Local President Jim Spina confirmed that a May 15 “decertification” election concluded with 39 votes for the union and 30 against. “Drivers Lee Gray and Jeff Kile were instrumental in this victory,” Spina said.

MCA has been using union-busting tactics at its facilities for years, including the creation of a system where unionized operators pay more for health insurance than do non-union drivers.

“The company even promised people cheaper insurance to its workers if they voted against the union,” Dimondstein said. “This vote underscores the confidence these workers have in the APWU. It protects this unit, where we recently signed a contract.”

With the voting results in, workers once again will by paying their dues by checkoff. “The Des Moines local handled this election, and Support Services Director Lee Gray and others should be commended for their successful efforts under such difficult circumstances.”

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