North America's Strongest Union

Organizing Roundup

Local 261

Golden Hill Nursing and Rehab

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) at Golden Hill Nursing and Rehab in New Castle, Pa. voted to align with Local 261 after new owners took over the facility and slashed salaries.

“They brought them all in, had a pizza party for them, and then had them sign a paper to rehire them,” said Mike Leckwart, Secretary-Treasurer at Local 261. “Then they slide a paper over to them and said, ‘This is what you are working for.’”

Facing pay cuts as high as $2.50 an hour, the CNAs voted 25-9 to join the Teamsters during a March 12 vote.

Leckwart, who headed up the organizing efforts, said the move came after a month-long organizing effort. Negotiations have begun on a new contract for the 36-worker unit.

Local 968

First Transit

In a nearly unanimous vote, bus mechanics at First Transit in Houston joined Local 968 in late February. The new bargaining unit of 21 maintenance workers stood together for better health insurance benefits and pay. They join First Transit drivers in Houston who have been members of Local 968 for 15 years.

“The workers came to us because they saw how much better the drivers’ benefits were as Teamsters,” said Local 968 Business Agent Carl Moore. “The organizing drive went very smoothly and the workers were very happy with the results.”

Moore said the mechanics did not face any strong resistance from the company, which has a relatively good rapport with the union. Workers are now preparing to sit down in bargaining with First Transit.


Local 396

Key Disposal

A group of drivers, mechanics and helpers at Key Disposal in Montebello, Calif. have voted to join Local 396 in Covina. The vote was 14-6. There are 23 workers in the bargaining unit.

“We are excited to welcome the Key Disposal workers, who want to be treated fairly and with the respect they deserve,” said Ron Herrera, Local 396 Secretary-Treasurer. “As Teamsters, they will win fairness and respect.”

“The workers were not getting paid, their checks were bouncing, they weren’t getting paid on time,” said Jim Smith, Local 396’s Organizing Director and Political Coordinator.


Local 523

APAC/Old Castle

Workers at APAC/Old Castle Inc. in Vinita, Okla. Voted to join Local 523 in Tulsa, securing a strong voice on the job. With this vote, the 10 workers join their Teamster brothers and sisters at APAC/Old Castle Inc. locations in Pasco and Yakima, Wash., Telford, Pa., Bensenville, Ill. and Toledo, Ohio.

The workers at the Vinita location, who work out of quarries hauling rock, lay asphalt and working primarily in road construction, approached the Local 523 after conditions and treatment at APAC/Old Castle had worsened over the past five years.

"We asked the Teamsters to get involved here because the company was disrespecting us and threatening to fire us for no reason," said Danny Belew, a 15-year employee who worked at APAC/Old Castle as both a mechanic and a driver. "We hope that with the union in our corner, we will able to have a partner in the workplace that can fight for us to improve conditions."

Gary Ketchum, President of Local 523, knew it would be a challenge to win at APAC/Old Castle Inc. since the workers had endured a vicious antiunion campaign from hired union-busters.

"I am proud of this group for standing strong despite the aggressive anti-union tactics the company employed during this campaign," Ketchum said.


Local 25

Airgas Drivers

Local 25 in Boston recently organized a group of 17 tankhaul workers who deliver air cylinders to commercial entities in the area.

The new Teamsters work for Airgas East and approached Local 25 a few months ago. The local already represents another Airgas bargaining unit in the area and those drivers frequently run into the nonunion workers.

“The drivers talk to each other, and when the company started taking things away from the nonunion workers, they saw an opportunity to come together,” said Robert Fabrizio, a Local 25 business agent. “Their overall treatment wasn’t great, they had no job security as at-will employees. They wanted the Teamsters to represent them.”

Local 25 is currently in negotiations for a contract for these new tankhaul Teamsters.


Local 929

Brentwood Historic Condominium Association

Center City Philadelphia workers with the Brentwood Historic Condominium Association are now members of Local 929 and contract negotiations are currently in process.

The eight workers, who work at the front desk as well as in maintenance and as grounds keepers, unanimously voted to join the union March 18 after a six-month organizing effort, said Rocky Bryan Jr., Local 929’s President. Bryan and Gerald Williams, the local’s Vice President, led the organizing effort.

Bryan said Local 929 tapped a new worker market in the Philadelphia area when it organized the condo association workers. “This is the first one that I’ve known of, not just for us,” he said. “We’ve never heard of organizing condo workers.” He is hopeful it could lead to organizing condo workers elsewhere.