(Berkeley, CA) – Teamsters and legal and security experts testified about workers’ rights violations by Loomis, an armored car guard company, before a public hearing at the UC Berkeley Labor Center on Tuesday. The hearing was held by UNI’s Swedish Commission of Inquiry into the Labor Practices of Loomis.
The commission, which is comprised of Swedish union leaders and legal experts, was organized by UNI, the global labor federation for services sector workers which is headquartered in Switzerland. Members of the commission traveled to the United States to investigate reports of workers’ rights violations at Loomis US.
Loomis US is a subsidiary of Swedish cash logistics corporation Loomis AB (STO:LOOMB). Loomis armored car guards in California had union representation for the last 58 years, until the company unilaterally decided that it will not allow its California employees to continue to be represented by the Teamsters and is refusing to negotiate new contracts.
Loomis subsequently cancelled its employees’ retirement plan, changed to a substandard health care plan that costs workers up to $700 a month, and can now terminate employees without just cause. Older employees with years of experience can be replaced by younger, less expensive employees.
Loomis guards were represented by Teamsters Local Union 150 in Sacramento; Teamsters Local Union 315 in San Mateo; Teamsters Local Union 396 in Los Angeles; Teamsters Local Union 439 in Stockton; Teamsters Local Union 542 in San Diego; and Teamsters Local Union 853 in San Jose.
“Those of us who believe in democracy were appalled when Loomis unilaterally decided that it will not allow its employees to continue to be represented by the Teamsters. This has been devastating to these workers,” Rome Aloise, Teamsters International Vice President said.
“Health care is now so expensive that some guards can no longer afford coverage for themselves or their families.”
“Loomis is violating various international labor standards which protect the right of workers to be represented by the union of their choice,” said David Rosenfeld, Professor at the UC Berkeley School of Law. Rosenfeld testified that he believes the current labor board will find that Loomis violated the National Labor Relations Act when it walked away from the Teamsters.
“As Loomis employees, we chose union representation, which is a fundamental right under the law. Even though the Teamsters is our union of choice, Loomis refuses to recognize this,” said Robert Avellino, a 15-year Loomis employee. “We now have no job or retirement security, even though we put our lives on the line every day for this job.”
Armored car guard is one of the most dangerous jobs in America. Guards are regularly robbed and shot while delivering cash. Loomis reduced the number of employees on armored car teams from three to two, and no longer provides workers with guns or bulletproof vests.
Security experts Fred Gualco and Bud Stone testified about the threats Loomis’ practices pose to armored car guards’ safety and why using 2-person teams for cash logistics services is dangerous both for guards and for the public.
John Logan, a professor and the Director of Labor & Employment Studies at San Francisco State University, testified about the union-hostile law firm, Littler-Mendelson, that Loomis US hired as part of its plan to remove unions from its U.S. workforce.
Teague Paterson, a labor attorney, testified about the class action lawsuit California employees have filed against Loomis for violating state wage and hour laws. To avoid additional wage and hour violations, the company coerced employees into signing a waiver that allows the company to force workers to work through their lunch breaks. Paterson also described Loomis’ numerous anti-union labor law violations since Teamster representation was terminated
The Swedish delegation is comprised of Alice Dale, Head of the UNI Global Union Property Services Department; Stellan Gärde, legal counsel at the Swedish LO-TCO Trade Union Confederation and Commissioner of International Commission of Jurists; Martin Viredius, Vice President of the Swedish Transport Workers' Union; Göran Larsson, International Secretary of the Swedish Transport Workers' Union; and Peder Palmstierna, former press officer of the Swedish Social Democrat Party.
Tuesday’s hearing was the first of three hearings the UNI Commission will hold in the United States this week.
Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @TeamsterPower.