Organizing the Unorganized
Recent Union Victories show the power of Organizing
Workers across the country are realizing the importance of having a voice in their workplace. Workers in show business, coffee, military contractors, and staff at a blood center all understand that working in a union workplace is the best thing for themselves and their families. Congratulations to these new union members and welcome to the union family.
The first was the Wardrobe staff at the Off-Broadway Hit, “Fiddler on The Roof in Yiddish.” Fiddler is a story of a Russian Jewish father trying to get his daughters to maintain the family’s traditions, while his daughters prefer to assimilate, each of them wanting to marry a man their father doesn’t approve of. It’s considered a Jewish Classic and this show is being done in the native language of many Eastern European Jews, 5 people were eligible to vote in the election to join IATSE Local 764. When they voted, 4 out of the 5 eligible voters voted yes and the 5th was apparently too busy making a costume because they forgot to vote. The bargaining unit will include the backstage staff but other employees such as guards and supervisors were excluded.
Teamsters Local 727 just hit the lottery because they were able to successfully ratify a new collective bargaining agreement with American Bottling Company, which is owned by Dr. Pepper /Snapple Group and is merging with Keurig Green Mountain Inc., 62 people were eligible to vote and 46 voted Yes and 16 voted No. The new agreement has the average wage increased by 14% and an increase in paid sick days as well as a near doubling of the pension. This will affect the full time and regular part-time account managers and sales representatives in American Bottling’s Northlake facility in Illinois. The only thing sweeter than a Snapple is a living wage and retirement benefits.
Even in Right to Work North Carolina, workers know that they need a union. At Camp LeJune Marine Base in Jacksonville, North Carolina, Full Time and Part-Time Military Family Life Counselors (MFLC) voted to organize with International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Local Lodge 47, with 27 people voting yes and 5 people voted no, with 32 people eligible to vote. Other clerical workers, guards, and managers, and supervisors were excluded from the bargaining unit.
In June, 11 Client Service Representatives at the New York Blood Center voted unanimously for Union representation with SEIU Local 1199, in Long Island City. The New York Blood Center hosts vital blood drives throughout the state and the client service reps are a valuable asset in ensuring that these drives happen and that our hospitals are fully stocked. Guards and other employees are, once again, excluded from this agreement.
The fact that people are still organizing for the benefits of Union protections in the post-Janus era, only confirms what we in the Labor Movement knew all along: United we bargain, Divided we beg.