(SOUTH EATON, Mass.) – Teamsters Local 653 continued its tradition of strong representation this week, securing first contracts for members at two employers – recently organized Reinhart Food Service and East Bridgewater Department of Public Works.
More than 230 workers at Reinhart Food Service overwhelmingly ratified a first contract, voting by a 2 to 1 margin to approve the collective bargaining agreement. The workers voted to join Local 653 in April 2013 following the third attempt to organize the drivers and warehouse workers by the union. The other two organizing campaigns occurred prior to Reinhart acquiring the workers’ original employer, Agar Supply. Entering negotiations, the unit wanted to improve wages, healthcare and job security at Reinhart.
“When Reinhart came in, management started to arbitrarily change everything without consulting the workers,” said Sean Walsh, a 22-year employee and member of the negotiating committee. “It created a lot of uncertainty. People lost their jobs, wages were changed without warning. With this contract, I finally feel we have some real security – it was a huge weight off my mind.”
Employees at East Bridgewater Department of Public Works have secured their first Teamster contract in a recent vote. The 14 employees in the department voted unanimously for the three-year contract.
“We will get much better representation by the Teamsters with our new contract,” said Jay Doherty, an equipment operator for the past 12 years at the DPW. “The Teamsters local union has already done an excellent job in assisting us and I think that anyone else here in the department would agree with me.”
The DPW consists of equipment operators who work on the highway, tree and water maintenance for East Bridgewater which has a population of 17,000. Many have been working for the city for at least 12 years and as many as 40.
“The key to our success for the recent organizing victories has been the hard work of Local 653 members,” said Michael Clark Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 653. “Member-to-member organizing is one of the best ways to communicate the value of union representation. Members who have strong representation are our union’s best advocates.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters 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 @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.