(ALLENTOWN, Pa.) – Teamsters Local 773 members with the Allentown Housing Authority voted unanimously to authorize a strike Tuesday night.
The Teamsters have been seeking a fair contract from their employer for nearly a year. The Allentown Housing Authority wants to increase workers’ health care costs by 200 to 300 percent. The employer also proposed that union members receive a wage increase of 2 percent per year, while nonunion personnel are set to receive a 3 percent increase.
The workers’ contract with the city ended December 31, 2016, and they have since been working under an extension. Negotiations began in September 2016.
In May 2017, a neutral fact-finder with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board issued recommended changes to the contract proposals from each side in order to come to a final agreement. Local 773 twice accepted the fair compromise proposals. The employer twice rejected them.
The workers maintain public housing units, turning over units when they are vacated, responding to emergencies in the middle of the night and making all necessary repairs.
“These are extremely dedicated workers who are on call 24/7. They come to work in all kinds of weather to clear sidewalks and lots, repair water breaks and serve the residents. They don’t deserve to be treated this way,” said Darrin Fry, a business agent with Local 773.
A date for a strike has not been set. An additional negotiation session with the Allentown Housing Authority is scheduled for August 31.
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 on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.