(WASHINGTON) – Drivers and helpers for Shred-it, Inc., in Trenton, N.J. have voted overwhelmingly, by a more than 3 to 1 margin, to join Teamsters Local 469 in Hazlet, N.J. The organizing victory was announced yesterday following a mail-in election for the unit of 32 workers.
Shred-it workers overcame an aggressive anti-union campaign by management throughout the organizing drive to secure union representation, seeking fair treatment and working conditions.
“This victory is proof that when you work together as a team, and put in the time and dedication to make change, workers have the ability to achieve their goals,” said Cassiba Joseph, a Shred-it driver who helped launch and lead the unionization effort. “We are grateful and honored to be represented by Local 469 and will continue to work together to win fair and honest compensation and benefits. We look forward to a great future ahead.”
Joseph and his co-workers reached out to Local 469 out of growing concerns for health and safety protocols as well as a desire for better wages, pensions and other benefits.
“We started this fight to secure a voice on the job, and we were in it to win it. We needed a union; we needed change. I couldn’t be prouder of our decisive vote to become Teamsters,” said Breaion Grissom, a Shred-it driver who also played a lead role on the worker-led organizing committee.
A strong supporter for Teamster representation, Grissom was fired the day he and his co- workers gave notice to Shred-it management that they had filed for a union election. Despite being wrongfully terminated, Grissom’s strong support for the Teamsters continued. He soon gained the support of his congressman, Rep. Chris Smith, who expressed deep concerns over Shred-it’s treatment of Grissom for taking an active role in the organizing campaign.
“The National Labor Relations Act forbids employers from interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of rights relating to organizing, forming, joining or assisting a labor organization for collective bargaining purposes. The law is clear,” Smith said.
Local 469 is actively working for Grissom’s reinstatement and has filed unfair labor practices (ULP) with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for violating workers’ rights during the organizing campaign. On March 24, the NLRB confirmed that an investigation into the allegations against Shred-It was underway and being conducted by NLRB’s Newark Regional Office.
“This is a strong and close-knit group. This win was possible because of their commitment as well as their comradery. They knew things needed to change, and they came together to win a better future for themselves their families and one another, and we have been proud to stand with them every step of the way,” said Fred Potter, President of Local 469. “I want to thank and congratulate our newest members for standing strong together.”
Shred-it, a wholly owned subsidiary of Stericycle, Inc., provides confidential shredding services to businesses across the U.S. and Canada. Yesterday’s victory in New Jersey is the latest effort to organize workers employed by Stericycle and follows a February 12 organizing win at Local 251 for Shred-it workers in Pawtucket, R.I.
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.