Teamsters Local 445
The Largest Local Union In The Hudson Valley And The Catskills
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  • If you are considering forming a union among your co-workers so that you can win the right to negotiate a contract, please read this information carefully

         The first thing you must do is realize what this is all about: winning the right to negotiate a contract that improves and guarantees your wages, benefits, working conditions, job protections and time off.

         It is a LEGAL DOCUMENT! It is enforced by your Teamster elected Shop Steward and Business Agent, and by Local 445's professional attorneys.

         To win this right, you must first gain the support of your co-workers. The best way is to form a CONTRACT COMMITTEE that will lead the effort.

         The federal National Labor Relations Act protects from retaliation or harassment all private sector employees who lead such efforts. (search NLRB.GOV). Municipal workers are protected by the state Public Employment Relations Board (search NY PERB).  The key to gaining this protection is being able to prove that management knew you were active in the contract campaign. (This is usually done with an official document listing the names of the employees involved in the effort).

         Once your co-workers have all the information, they will be  asked to sign confidential AUTHORIZATION CARDS authorizing Teamsters Local 445 to be their bargaining representative. These cards are not shown to management. When at least one-third of the employees sign the cards, the Union files them with the NLRB or PERB. The NLRB or PERB then conducts a secret-ballot election at your workplace.  One more than half of those who vote must vote "Yes" for the Union to win the legal authority to begin negotiations.

         By that point the employees will have been surveyed regarding what they want in their contract.  The employees will then elect contract reps from among their co-workers to join with the Union professionals to negotiate the contract. A contract is anywhere from 30 to 60 pages long.  It usually takes at least three months to complete negotiations.

         You pay no dues unless and until you and your co-workers vote by secret ballot to approve the contract presented to you (that way, if the contract is not worth the dues, you can vote no!) There is no initiation fee, except for a small one for those hired after the contract is negotiated. Monthly Union Dues are only two-and-a-half times your hourly rate for Private Sector employees (so that if you make $20 per hour, you pay $50 per month). Public Sector employees pay only two-and-one-fourth times their hourly rate once a month.  Dues are tax deductable.

         Nearly 99 percent of all contracts nationwide are settled without strikes, according to the federal Department of Labor, so don't let management scare you about voting for a strike.  There are many non-strike strategies in the Teamsters' arsenal.

         NOW PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO CLICK ON THE BOX IN THE LEFT MARGIN ENTITLED "ORGANIZE TODAY." FILL THIS BOX OUT AND YOU WILL BE CONTACTED WITHIN A DAY.  ALL INFORMATION WILL BE KEPT STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.

         For more information, call our Organizer Jerry Ebert's cellphone: 845-857-4768. He will talk or meet with you at your convenience to help you through the process.

         Remember: it's all about winning the right to negotiate a contract, for your sake and the sake of your family.


    Sep 15, 2009

     
    If You Are Considering Joining The Teamsters

    It’s Not About Joining A Union:

    It’s About Creating A Union Contract!

         Anti-union bosses will drive you nauseous with scare tactics that usually begin: “When the Union comes in….”

         Over and over, they will say you don’t need a union.

         However, there’s one thing they won’t say: you don’t need to negotiate a contract.

         That’s because bosses use contracts every day of their lives. They absolutely believe in contracts, because they know it’s the only real way they can protect themselves and their businesses. Even CEO’s of major companies have contracts to protect them. Professional athletes have contracts, entertainers have contracts, small business owners have contracts: why shouldn’t workers also have contracts?

         Right now you have no right to negotiate anything. With a contract, you have all kinds of rights and protections on paper. All of a sudden the boss has to negotiate everything…no wonder he fights so hard against you!

         The contract is the soul of what a good Union provides workers. It has five major components: wage increases, benefit improvements, defined working conditions, legal protection against unfair discipline or termination, and increased time off.

         Employees define their own contract goals, and elect Negotiating Committee members to work with Local 445 professionals to bargain with management.

         There is no initiation fee or other hidden costs, and low monthly dues are not collected until the first month after the employees vote by secret ballot to approve the contract.  Union dues are only two-and-a-half hours’ pay per month. For example, if you make $20 per hour, you pay $50 per month.

         Anti-union bosses will fill employees’ head with all kinds of untruths about forming a union with Local 445.

         They’ll say “The Union comes in” with all kinds of new rules for the workplace. But the truth is, the Union will only fight to change whatever the workers want to change.

         “They’ll say “Negotiations start from scratch,” and workers could lose existing benefits. But the truth is, bargaining starts from the wages and benefits in place at the time the employees vote to join our Union, and the only way anything can change is if the workers vote to change it. This protection is enforced by the federal National Labor Relations Board, which has many such protections in place to safeguard employees seeking a contract (see NLRB.gov).

        They’ll say “The Union will force you to strike.” But the only way a strike can take place is if the workers vote by an overwhelming margin to approve one. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, 99 percent of all contract negotiations are settled with out a strike. Local 445 has only had one strike in the past seven years, and that was a successful one conducted by United Building Supplies Teamsters in Red Hook recently (see article inside this issue).

         They’ll say “Union are corrupt.” However, in any human organization active on God’s green earth, you can find corruption.  This includes law firms, service organizations, businesses, sports clubs, political parties and even religious groups. The vast majority of Unions are led by good people who only want to better the lives of the members who have elected them.

         Anti-union bosses use the “U” word so often, you almost wish that instead of calling worker organizations “unions” our early labor leaders had called them “Employee Contract Associations.” Then the emphasis would be where it really belongs!

         If you are interested in forming a Union with Teamsters Local 445, call our Director of Organizing Jerry Ebert on his 24-hour hotline: 845-857-4768.


    Jun 09, 2009

    Seven Key Steps:
    WINNING THE RIGHT TO NEGOTIATE A CONTRACT
     

         Here are the Seven Key Points you must understand if you want to win the right to negotiate a contract to protect and improve your wages, benefits, working conditions and job security.

    1.   You must first join your workplace Union Contract Committee and convince a majority of employees at your workplace to sign confidential “Union Authorization Cards.” These cards are never shown to management, and are turned over to the federal National Labor Relations Board. Your Contract Committee develops contract proposals and openly advocates for the effort.  Once the Authorization Cards are filed with the NLRB, it conducts a secret-ballot election at your workplace within 42 days. The Union must win the election by one more than half of those who vote

    2.   Management is forbidden by law from harassing, interrogating, or otherwise discriminating against anyone who publicly favors forming a Union. However, the trick of the law is that you must be able to prove that management absolutely knew you were in favor of the union (for example, if you make or sign a public statement that you and your co-workers need a union). Teamsters Local 445 has a strong reputation for filing charges against management for any misconduct.

    3.   You pay no union dues, and you are not a member of the union, until you vote by secret ballot to approve the contract. (That way, the contract has to be worth the dues before you accept it!!)  Once you approve the contract, private-sector Teamster members pay two-and-a-half hours pay per month (for example, if you make $20 per hour, you pay $50 per month). There is NO INITIATION FEE or other hidden costs.

    4.   You cannot lose any pay or benefits you presently enjoy unless you vote to lose those benefits, (and that’s not going to happen!) Management will say things such as “Bargaining starts from scratch, and you could win, lose or draw even,” but what they are not telling you is that if you lose anything or draw even, you will never vote for such a contract! 

    After the election is won, you formally elect a Negotiating Committee and finalize your contract goals and priorities. This committee accompanies union professionals in every negotiating session with management. The Union professionals custom-design your contract proposal to make sure it fits your needs and solves your problems, however big or small.

    6.   When the contract is approved by your secret-ballot vote, Teamsters Local 445 Business Agents professionally enforce the contract, and the Union pays for any legal expenses involved in that enforcement. (For example, if you are wrongfully disciplined or fired, the Union provides the lawyers and takes care of the expense of the hearing and the judge, or arbitrator.

    7.   Teamsters Local 445 has not had a strike in many years, and we do not recommend that you ever vote for one. Only the employees at a workplace can vote for a strike. Don’t let management tell you “The Union will call you out on strike,” because it can’t! We have many non-strike strategies we can use to convince an employer to settle a contract favorably.


    Jul 10, 2008
    UNION GUARANTEES
     
    1. As soon as the election is won, the Union guarantees that it will provide a legal representative, if requested, as a witness to any discussion with management that may lead to discipline or termination. (Your legal “Weingarten Rights.”)
    1. The Union guarantees it will not ask you to pay one penny in dues until it fights to win you a contract that you must approve by secret ballot. We also guarantee that you are smart enough not to vote for that contract unless it contains better wages, better benefits, better rules governing work standards, legal protection if you are unfairly disciplined or terminated, pro-rated benefits for part-timers, and many more advantages that will make the dues very worthwhile. If the final contract offer from the company is the same or less than what the employees presently have, the Union guarantees it will ask the employees to vote no.
    1. The Union guarantees it will not ask you to vote for a strike. According to the government, 98 percent of all union negotiations are settled without a strike. Teamsters Local 445 specializes in peaceful yet effective strategies
    1. The Union guarantees that anyone who signs up for the Union Contract Committee will receive full legal backing from the Union before the National Labor Relations Board if they experience any discrimination.
    1. The Union guarantees that it will never ask for a dues increase or any extra money without following the legal process, which requires that the proposal be presented to the members over a six-month period, and then approved by membership vote.
    1. The Union guarantees that you will elect your Shop Stewards and Contract Representatives, democratically determine your contract proposals, and vote by secret ballot to accept or reject your contract, and in November 2008 vote to elect all Union officials.
    1. The Union guarantees that, once the election is won, it will work professionally and courteously with company officials to insure that work runs smoothly yet fairly.
    1. Once the contract is approved, the Union guarantees that it will provide professional legal representation to any employee who faces unfair discipline or termination. (The law allows for employees to sue any union that does not provide such representation.)
    1.  The Union guarantees that all members will be eligible for the       International Teamsters Union Privilege Program, which offers discounted car, house, life and legal protection and more.

    Jun 09, 2009

     

    Protect Yourself First:

    A MESSAGE TO EMPLOYEES
    WITHOUT A UNION CONTRACT

     

         If you are an employee at a non-union workplace, and are considering winning the right to negotiate a contract to protect and improve your pay, benefits, working conditions and job security, read this section of our website carefully.

         Then, before you say anything to your co-workers, call Teamsters Local 445 Organizer Jerry Ebert’s cellphone: 845-857-4768. You may also email through our website listed above, or ebertteamster@hotmail.com.

          It is very important that you contact us before you say or do anything, so that we can insure that you are legally protected against any repercussions.


    Jun 09, 2009

     
     

    Why We Need the Employee Free Choice Act:

    Bosses Gone Wild

         Although Teamsters Local 445 has one of the best success rates in the country right now when it comes to winning organizing elections for non-union workers (27 wins to only one loss during the past three years, with over 1400 new members), that statistic only tells part of the story.

         For all the companies our Union has wrestled to elections, there are many more organizing campaigns where the employers’ often-illegal actions have delayed or effectively squashed the efforts to win the right to negotiate a contract.

         These latter campaigns illustrate the strong need for Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, which would force an employer to begin negotiations once a strong majority of employees sign union Authorization Cards. (Employees would not be required to pay dues until they approve the contract by secret ballot).

         Take the case of Acme School Bussing in Middletown, which services all Orange County special needs children. Last September 63 of the 100 employees who work at Acme signed Authorization Cards for our Union.

         Then all hell broke loose.

         The Acme manager immediately fired two of the Union’s main organizers after they notified him they were distributing literature on behalf of Local 445. (That notification is necessary for the Union to be able to bring a case on the employees’ behalf before the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency in charge of setting up the election at the workplace once the cards are filed.) The manager then embarked on a campaign of allegedly illegal harassment, intimidation, surveillance and interrogations that continues to this day.

         Our Union filed the Authorization Cards signed by Acme employees with the NLRB. However, once it became clear that the manager’s actions were having an incredibly negative effect on the employees, the Union asked the NLRB to block the election pending the outcome of the charges we then filed against Acme. Then in early June 2009 the NLRB announced that the situation was so bad at Acme, it would take the unusual step of issuing a Bargaining Order requiring that the company negotiate with the employees. That case is set to be introduced into court within the next few weeks.

         “My co-workers are afraid to talk with me,” said Kathy Poinsella, who stepped up to become the lead employee organizer at Acme. “They tell me I have a huge target on my back.”

         The Union’s strategy at Acme is to have the NLRB find Acme guilty of the charges, hopefully win full backpay and reinstatement for the fired workers, and then form the Negotiating Committee among the employees. However, all this takes time, which leaves management the opportunity to “persuade” the employees to vote no.

         Then there’s the case of the C&S Warehouse in Chester. Recently our organizers began handbilling at the entrance to the facility, only to be greeted by a manager for the trucking company that subcontracts the shipping for C&S. Although NLRB regulations specifically forbid an employer from conducting surveillance while handbilling takes place, this manager blatantly stood over our organizers, hurling insults and urging employees not to stop to take the information. Our Union has filed charges with the NLRB so that the next time we are handbilling the same thing will not happen, but meanwhile the damage is done.

         Local 445 members may have read in the local Times-Herald Record the sad story of what has happened to Local 445’s efforts to organize Concepts Packaging, a cosmetics manufacturer in Newburgh. Nearly two-thirds of the employees signed Authorization Cards for our Union in mid-October. Three days later the boss laid off one-third of the workforce, and began a tirade of allegedly illegal actions that included interrogations, threats to close the factory, a phony protest led by managers, and more. He even sent a manager to a union meeting, something so blatantly illegal that it has never happened in our Union’s long history. As with Acme, the Union filed the cards with the NLRB seeking an election, but then was forced to postpone the election pending the outcome of the case. Once our Union filed the charges, the boss immediately returned to work the laid-off employees, but the damage was done. The NLRB recently ruled that the company violated the law with its threats and intimidating tactics. Soon an election date will be set. One wonders whether the employees will be so frightened at what happened that they will be reluctant to proceed further with the effort.

         Then there’s the case of Sullivan Structures, a concrete supplier from Wurtsboro. After our Union began handbilling at the facility, the boss reached out to a non-Teamster union he had befriended and gave them recognition. Local 445 blocked the recognition by winning charges filed with the NLRB, then won a jurisdictional dispute against the other union. Furious, the boss illegally threatened to sell or close the facility, then illegally let his employees know that he was aware of who was attending Teamster meetings. Once again our Union filed NLRB charges, and the election is in limbo pending the outcome. 

         There are more such cases in the recent past, including knock-down struggles at the GAP warehouse in Dutchess County, Kohl’s Warehouse and MobileMedic ambulance services in Sullivan County, and Miron Building Supplies in Ulster County.

         To be sure, there are success stories too. Our Union hung tough to organize workers at the Fresenius Medical Supplies warehouse in Orange County, and is in the midst of negotiations despite several allegedly illegal actions by management that still continue. Also, after an employee organizer was fired at a company that subcontracts housekeeping work from West Point’s Keller Hospital, our Union leaders put such pressure on the company that the employee was put back to work 48 hours later. The Union won the election a few weeks later by a unanimous margin of 21-0.

         During the past few years former President Bush made a special effort to “pack” the NLRB with anti-union lawyers who have weakened the power of the agency. 

         President Obama has promised to reverse this terrible trend, and has further promised to give his full backing to the Employee Free Choice Act.

         Let’s hope he succeeds. Far too many good people are suffering while we wait for meaningful reform of the laws protecting workers seeking the right to negotiate a union contract.




    Page Last Updated: Oct 13, 2009 (18:30:00)
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