(BLOOMINGTON, CA) – Laundry drivers at Mission Linen in Palm Springs, Calif. voted unanimously to join Teamsters Local 166 in Bloomington, Calif., securing a strong voice on the job.
The workers approached Local 166 after new management began fostering a hostile work environment, discarding the seniority system and implying that the workers were disposable and could be let go at any moment if they didn’t toe the line. The hardships in the workplace only made the drivers more determined to win representation.
“These guys were motivated from the start,” said Local 166 Organizer Andy Budai. “They knew what they wanted and were ready to be union even before the vote. They even had their shop stewards picked out.”
John Schuler, a 9-year driver for Mission Linen, was the head of the organizing committee for the group. He and his coworkers were worried about the policies the new regime was implementing with no regard to how they would ultimately impact the workers.
“The new management came in and either fired, demoted or transferred the old staff right away,” Schuler said. “They unilaterally threw out our seniority system, which was a real blow to all of us, especially the guys who have been working here for over 15 years. They made it clear that if we didn’t like it, they considered us disposable and easily replaced. We’ve been nothing but loyal to this company, and this is how they treat us?”
Schuler and the rest of the group sought out the Teamsters Union and shared their problems with Budai.
‘Andy and the union were great,” Schuler said. “He told it to us straight, he didn’t B.S. us. He let us know what could happen and what couldn’t happen on this campaign. We appreciated his honesty and knew that the Teamsters were the right fit.”