Tuesday, May 10, 2005

DHL contractor's workers will join Teamsters

Workers at Great Plains Transportation Inc., an area contractor for express delivery firm DHL, voted to unionize last week.
Great Plains becomes the first area company to be touched by the Teamsters' national campaign to organize firms that contract with DHL, the giant delivery company owned by Deutsche Post. Another election is scheduled on May 20 at Mid-Continent Transport, a DHL contractor in St. Joseph.
With 32 eligible employees at Great Plains, 23 voted in favor of joining Teamsters Local 41 and three voted against, according to Dan Hubbel, assistant to the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board.
Alonzo White, owner of Great Plains, could not be reached for comment Friday. A union official said he did not expect the company to contest the election, which was conducted by the NLRB.
“I don't think there will be any objections,” said Mike Corns, a Teamsters national organizer. “I think this one was pretty clean.”
Corns said the margin of victory was indicative of employees who are frustrated by low wages, unaffordable health benefits and excessive overtime.
“It sent a clear message that their workers want to make a change,” he said. “Hopefully, negotiations on a contract will start right away. The local will be pursuing that pretty aggressively.”
Hubbel said the NLRB is continuing to investigate the union's charge that a Great Plains employee was fired for engaging in union activity. A ruling should be forthcoming, he said.
Corns said the results at Great Plains gave the union hope about the upcoming vote in St. Joseph. Mid-Continent Transport has about 30 drivers and dock workers who will be deciding whether to join Teamsters Local 955.
Corns said management at the St. Joseph firm has been aggressive in trying to persuade its employees to vote against the union.
The Teamsters have said more than 1,300 workers at DHL contractor firms around the country have voted to join the union. In late April, 66 employees at three delivery companies in the Miami area voted in favor of forming a bargaining unit.

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