DHL Ordered to Stop Interfering in Ohio

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(This article appeared in the September/October 2007 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Bill Manley, Director

An NLRB Administrative Law Judge has ruled that DHL Express of Wilmington, OH, is guilty of the unfair labor practice charges lodged against the global-delivery company by the APWU late last year.

The APWU had filed charges Nov. 30, 2006, accusing the company of “interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees in the exercise of their rights” to a union-representation election. The National Labor Relations Board followed up by issuing a complaint against DHL on Jan. 30. In the June 25 ruling, Arthur Amchan, the administrative judge, ordered DHL to stop:

  • Threatening workers by preparing and distributing a “pie chart” that claimed to demonstrate that DHL would not and/or could not grant them greater benefits if they formed a union; 
  • Threatening employees with loss of benefits, specifically periodic wage increases, if they were to select the union as their collective bargaining representative; 
  • Threatening DHL workers with stricter enforcement of work rules if they were to choose the union as their representative; and 
  • In any like or related manner interfering with, restraining or coercing employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed them by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.

“It was precisely this sort of unlawful activity on the part of DHL that delayed the union election scheduled for last fall,” said Mark Dimondstein, the APWU’s lead field organizer. “The judge has ruled that DHL has deprived its workers of the chance to hold an election free from company interference, coercion and intimidation.”

APWU representatives and activist workers have been trying to organize approximately 3,000 ground workers at the DHL-operated ABX Air site in southwest Ohio, which is the main hub for the global delivery company’s network of regional sorting operations. ABX workers have jobs similar to those of APWU members at processing and distribution plants but, at their top step, earn approximately $6 per hour less than their Postal Service counterparts.

Dimondstein said that ABX management began its harsh discriminatory practices shortly after the union field office was set up in early 2005, and quickly hired a well-known anti-union “consulting” firm.

“This ruling is a major victory for workers rights at DHL-operated ABX,” Dimondstein said, “as well as the APWU’s efforts to ensure that the DHL workers have a level playing field in their drive for a fair and neutral union election here in Wilmington.”

In a statement, the DHL Workers Organizing Committee called on the company to halt the illegal acts depriving DHL workers of a true voice at work.

“DHL should abide by the judge’s decision without further appeal,” the statement said. “Company actions have already caused long delays in the workers rights to a fair union election.”

Added DHL worker Jerry Hyden: “It’s time for management to own up to what they’ve done. They lied to us to try to get people to vote against our union and now they’ve been found guilty by the NLRB. They need to stop breaking the law, take their punishment, and let us vote for our union."

Nurses Vote to Merge With APWU

The membership of the National Postal Professional Nurses union has voted to merge with the APWU. The National Executive Board voted in August to approve the merger.

The NPPN represents about 85 nurses at USPS facilities nationwide. Idell Mitchell, the nurses’ union president, said that the membership voted 5 to 1 in favor of the merger.

“We’re pleased to be adding this group of well-respected and dedicated professional employees,” said APWU President William Burrus. The APWU has helped the organization with legal support in the past, including during the 1994 interest arbitration.

The NPPN has had collective bargaining agreements with the USPS since 1978, with its latest contract expiring on Aug. 17. The APWU will represent the NPPN at negotiations, which are set to begin Sept. 18.

The nurses will be part of the APWU Support Services Division and will remain a separate bargaining unit.

Membership of another Support Services bargaining unit, Operating Services, ratified a four-year contract on July 5 by a vote of 48 to 1. The agreement, modeled on the APWU-USPS contract covering craft employees, covers 90 workers.

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