The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) scored a short line organizing victory in August as a majority of workers at Texas-Pacifico Transportation Ltd. voted to make the BLET their designated collective bargaining representative. The organizing victory brings about 25 new train and engine service employees into the ranks of the BLET.
BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce welcomed the new Texas-Pacifico workers and thanked them for voting BLET. The Brotherhood will begin contract negotiations with rail management as quickly as possible, he said.
Texas-Pacifico operates freight service over approximately 380 miles in West Texas, from San Angelo Junction to Alpine Junction. It also operates from Paisano Junction to International Bridge near Presidio, Texas, and it interchanges with the BNSF Railway, Union Pacific, Ferromex and the Fort Worth & Western Railroad.
Workers at Mayfield Dairy in Macon, Ga. have voted to join Local 528 in Atlanta. On September 6, workers in Macon voted to become Teamsters by a nearly 3-1 margin. There are 32 transport drivers, route sales drivers and warehouse workers in the unit.
“We are excited to represent the Mayfield Dairy workers and we will work hard to negotiate a strong first contract,” said Don Toney, Local 528 President.
Mayfield Dairy is owned by Dean Foods Corporation, the largest employer of Teamster dairy members. The workers are seeking fair wages, job security, a seniority system and respect on the job. The company has been arbitrarily changing their routes, which forces them to build customer bases from scratch.
School bus drivers and monitors with First Student in Oak Park, Mich., have voted by an overwhelming 5-1 margin to join Local 1038 in Detroit. The 32 drivers and monitors transport students in the Oak Park School District.
“I feel really good about our vote because it’s going to help all of us. We have younger workers and employees coming in with families. We expect to be treated fairly because everyone here works hard,” said Jackie Sanders, a First Student driver who was a Teamster for more than 20 years with Detroit Public Schools.
Greg Nowak, President of Local 1038 and Joint Council 43, said this is one of several First Student locations the local union has organized in recent years.
“We’re happy to welcome the drivers and monitors to the Teamsters. The Joint Council, International Union and Local 1038 worked together with them and we look forward to improving their working conditions,” Nowak said.
Drivers with Lincare Inc. in Marlborough, Mass., voted unanimously on Sept. 16 to join Local 170 in Worcester, Mass.
The drivers deliver medical supplies, including oxygen tanks, nebulizers, wheelchairs and hospital beds. While their jobs require a CDL, criminal background check, random drug tests and hazmat training, the drivers say they lack the respect appropriate to their professional level of certification and training.
“There are three of us, but since they closed two facilities, we are doing the work of six drivers,” said Larry Landini, a driver who has worked at Lincare for four years. “We work 65-75 hours a week. We’re on call; we get calls at 3 a.m. and don’t get paid for it. It’s affecting our time with our families.”
Landini knew the difference the union could make, having been a Teamster in a previous job.
Warehouse workers at Americold in McDonough, Ga. recently voted to join Local 528. The workers voted 30-11 to join the Teamsters. There are about 50 workers in the bargaining unit. However, because there are many temporary workers who will become full-time, the bargaining unit is expected to grow to 80 to 90 workers.
“We represent Americold workers at four other locations, so the McDonough workers saw the great job we do for their co-workers in other areas,” said Don Toney, President of Local 528 in Atlanta.
“The Americold workers who are represented by Local 528 receive much higher wages,” said Johnny Edwards, a Local 528 Business Agent. “They are also seeking a seniority system, protection of rights, improved benefits and respect and dignity in the workplace.”