February 27, 2007: With no support from their local, Teamsters at the University of Chicago are getting ready for a rank-and-file contract campaign. The contract between Local 743 and the university expires on March 1.
Rank-and-file activists are circulating a petition calling for increased job security, fair treatment from managers, and a raise above the cost of living. “We usually get a three percent annual raise,” said Joe Sexauer, a Local 743 clerical at the university. “We want to do better this time, but we shouldn’t give up job security for a few extra pennies either.”
The Local 743 contract covers over a thousand clerical and blue collar jobs. The university is one of the biggest employers on Chicago’s South Side.
So far, the local has done little to prepare to win a good contract. Rank and file leaders are stepping forward to help do the job.
“Last time the local let the contract stay expired for over a year before we got an agreement,” Sexauer said. “We can’t let it drag on. They just use the retro pay as an incentive to vote for an inferior contract. They bribe us with our own money, and that demoralizes the members.”