Union Vows to Fight On At DHL in Eastern PA

September 19, 2007

Share this article

Despite losing a union-representation election, an APWU-led organizing committee will press on in its campaign for workers’ rights at a sorting facility just outside of Allentown, PA.

“We are deeply disappointed that our quest … has initially failed,” the DHL Workers Organizing Committee said in a letter to union supporters following the Sept. 12 election defeat. “We appreciate all that our co-workers did to help with the campaign. … The struggle will continue!”

The APWU has been trying to organize approximately 400 workers at the DHL package-distribution center. The National Labor Relations Board reported that the vote was 217 to 135. Earlier this year, nearly 150 workers signed a petition demanding that the company cease its “anti-union” activities and the NLRB has ordered a hearing on the allegations of harassment of union organizers.

“Everyone knows that this was not a ‘free and fair’ election,” the workers’ committee wrote. “Company fear tactics of intimidation; threats of loss of wages; the onslaught of false propaganda; and promises of improvements if we voted against the union, combined to disorient us from our initial overwhelming support for our union future.”

DHL spent more than $1 million on anti-union “consultants” as part of its “campaign to keep absolute power and control over our working lives,” the committee letter said. “This is money that should have been spent for improved vacations, more paid sick leave, better health insurance, and wage increases so sorely needed by ourselves and our families.”

“It is disappointing that many of your co-workers have voted not to unite and speak with a single voice,” APWU President William Burrus said in a letter to the Allentown activists. “Our struggle over the past two years has been clouded by management’s assertion that joining a union would cause negative consequences for the workers at DHL.”

The APWU plans to appeal the vote. The NLRB-ordered hearing to investigate the allegations that DHL illegally hampered the union campaign will go on as scheduled in Philadelphia on Nov. 27.

The APWU committee vowed to continue the fight for workers’ rights. “[We] will seek a free and fair election where every worker can deliberate the issues and vote without company threats, intimidation, and harassment,” the letter said.

“As long as workers have no protections except those granted by their employers,” Burrus said, “there will always be brave individuals who will strive to combine forces in the workplace. Workers at DHL will continue to organize again and again until victory is achieved. … Our success has only been deferred to a future day.”

APWU representatives and activist workers are continuing their efforts 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.

Stay in touch with your union

Subscribe to receive important information from your union.