Boston Movers Fight to Preserve Their Work

Commercial movers in Boston Local 82 are used to battling the nonunion competition. But now there’s a new group trying to take their work: union Carpenters. The Carpenters have been threatening customers with slowdowns if they don’t get the moving work which has always been in the Teamsters’ jurisdiction. And the tactic’s been working. Now Local 82 members are fed up and fighting back. When movers from Walsh Moving Company showed up at a recent job at 100 Federal St. in Boston, they found Carpenters already unloading the trailers. They alerted their fellow Teamsters at another moving company, Casey and Hayes, and members came down and confronted the carpenters, snapping their pictures. A business agent for the Carpenters showed up and so did Local 82 Secretary Treasurer John Perry. When the dust had settled, the Teamsters got the work. “We don’t do the carpenters work, and we expect them not to do ours,” said Ralph Gaskell, a Local 82 shop steward at Casey and Hayes. Members have started to distribute a letter from the local to building managers asking them to respect each union’s jurisdiction. “We’re ready to defend our jobs. It’s time for some backup from the International,” said Joe Wright, one of the movers who confronted the carpenters on the Federal Street job. Members point out that the Carpenters, like the Teamsters, are in the new Change to Win Federation. A key Change to Win principle is that unions should organize in their jurisdiction. “It’s time for Hoffa to make a call to the Carpenters and put an end to this nonsense,” said Eddie Adams, an assistant steward at Casey and Hayes who also confronted the Carpenters at Federal St. “Then we need to get to work organizing the nonunion companies.”

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