The Two-City Agreement Proves the Power of Collective Bargaining
In the face of competition from worker-unfriendly rideshare apps and non-union rental-car agencies, it’s not an easy time for union negotiations in the rental-car industry. Yet Local 495 stays strong in bargaining for quality contracts for our members. Through skilled and dedicated negotiations, more than 400 members at Burbank and LAX airports have won unprecedented economic improvements under a new five-year agreement at Avis.
The two-city master agreement received an enthusiastic “yes” from more than 90 percent of voting members in early August.
“This is by far the richest economic settlement we have ever achieved on behalf of this group,” said chief negotiator Jim Lennox, who has negotiated Avis agreements for the past 15 years.
Lennox was able to secure the best Avis contract in more than a decade through savvy negotiation alongside Business Agents Kevin Barrus and Mark Manning, and shop stewards Lori Cazares, Luis Gonzalez, Mark Emmanuel, Carnel Lyons, Diane Treviso, Aide Hernandez, Ron Stewart, Alex Martinez, Francisco "Frank" Mendez, Don Marzullo and Dennis Stone.
Wage increases will go to mechanics, rental representatives, return representatives, dispatchers, bus operators and service agents. The across-the-board economic package is the largest settlement ever achieved in bargaining for this group. The local addressed not only wages but premiums for many of the classifications.
The agreement also includes substantial pension and 401k increases and a dramatic improvement in paid time off for all part-time employees.
Shop steward Lori Cazares has been at Avis for 37 years. She has been through many rounds of negotiations. “These negotiations were absolutely fantastic,” Cazares said. “We have some of the best people in the business doing the negotiating for us and we got one of the best contracts we’ve gotten in a long time.”
Jim Lennox acknowledges the work of Cazares and the other shop stewards on the bargaining committee for their role in making it happen. “The stewards made many difficult decisions and did a fantastic job on behalf of the entire membership,” Lennox said.
Like all great union contracts, it was a group effort. Manning reported, “Jim Lennox was relentless in his determination to win the best contract he could possibly achieve from management on behalf of our great membership at LAX and Burbank.”
The Teamsters Industrial Trades division represents Avis workers at airports across the country in addition to LAX and Burbank.