Organizing Victories in Right to Work States
Employees in Wisconsin, Tennessee and Florida, all have voted to have a voice in their workplace
Organizing a union in a Right to Work state is difficult. Often these states are not friendly to unions and have created laws and an environment that make it even tougher than normal to organize. For workers at Ingeteam in Wisconsin, Durham School Services in Tennessee and A. Harold and Associates in Florida the hurdles were not enough to stop them from voting to have a voice in their workplace.
Ingeteam is located in Milwaukee Wisconsin and they build and maintain power and control electronics (inverters, frequency converters, controllers, and protections), generators, motors and pumps, electrical engineering and automation projects. While they are a Spanish company, Ingeteam built their first location in the United States in Milwaukee in 2010. On May 1, the 89 employees of the plant filed for a union election and all of the ballots were counted by May 23. The results were 69 voting for a voice in their workplace and 18 deciding they wanted to stay silent. The bargaining unit will include all full-time and regular part-time manufacturing employees in assembly, prep, rotor, stator, finishing, painting, testing, quality control, leads, maintenance, warehouse, shipping, and repair shop, in the Machines Division at the Milwaukee facility. They will be represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 2150.
On May 23rd, employees at A. Harold and Associates also found out that they had won their union election. By a vote of 14-0 the computer-based training specialists/instructors, educational technologists, graphic artists and all office clerical employees, professional employees, managerial employees, guards and supervisor who work in Jacksonville Florida, voted to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). The company provides training, logistics, service, and construction products to a number of clients including the U.S. Navy.
Even in Chattanooga Tennessee, employees want to join a union. At Durham School Services, drivers and aides wanted to have a stronger voice in their workplace. After organizing with Teamsters Local 327 the 220 employees filed for a union election. On May 17th they found out that 116 stuck together and voted yes, while 104 sided with the bosses and voted no. Even with 6 ballots being challenged, the Yes votes prevailed.
With all three of these elections being decided in May, both workers and employers will spend the summer months working out a contract.