March 11, 2009: More than 80 members packed the house at New York Local 814 on Monday. They were there to discuss proposed changes that would help New York movers win a strong contract.
At the meeting, members turned in petition signatures from 150 members who are proposing changes to the local union bylaws that would give members a stronger voice in contract bargaining.
Specifically, the proposed changes would:
- Give members the right to elect the rank-and-file members of the bargaining committee;
- Give members the right to information about what is happening in contract bargaining;
- Require Local 814 to mobilize the membership and support from the Teamsters and the public to win a strong contract;
- Give members time to review all changes to the contract in writing before we vote on it.
Members of the Local 814 Executive Board spoke out against these reforms despite the overwhelming display of support for the changes. The proposals will be read again at the next membership meeting and then voted on at the general membership meeting in September.
Local 814 movers work for some of the deepest pockets in the city: Fortune 500 companies, Wall Street banks and the U.N. But you’d never know it by their recent contracts. Givebacks have gutted members’ pay and benefits and divided the membership into tiers that are pitted against each other.
“Our contract negotiations next year are make or break for us. If we’re going to put an end to the concessions and return our union to sound footing, we’ve got to do things differently,” said Local 814 Teamster Walter Taylor.
Last year, Local 814 members put these principles into place in a successful, year-long rank-and-file contract campaign at Sotheby’s Auction House. As a result, they put an end to concessions and won their best contract in more than a decade.
Click here to see how they did it.
Are you happy with the way your local union negotiates contracts? Click here to send your comment or to get advice from Teamsters for a Democratic Union.