Teamsters to represent 113 workers; vote marks establishment of first union shop at LTL carrier.
By DC Velocity Staff
Con-way Freight workers in Laredo, Texas, agreed on Friday to unionize under the Teamsters union, the first time in the company’s 31 years of operation that it will have to work with a bargaining unit.
The 113 drivers and dockworkers employed at the less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier’s terminal in the Texas border city voted by a 55-49 margin to join Teamsters Local 657.
Frank Perkins, president of the San Antonio-based Local, said it requested representation elections at Con-way’s Laredo terminal because of its visibility as the nation’s busiest inland port, with 7,000 trucks crossing the Mexican border every day. Under rules established by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), an election for union representation can be held if more than 30 percent of workers at the prospective location request one. In a related development, the Teamsters last Wednesday filed with the NLRB to hold elections at Con-way terminals in Los Angeles, Santa Fe Springs, and San Fernando, Calif.
“This is a great victory for the workers at Con-way, and we hope this campaign spreads,” said Perkins in a statement, referring to the Laredo vote. A spokesman for parent Con-way Inc. was unavailable for comment.
BY BRUCE VAIL
JUL 31, 2014
On Wednesday, a handful of Democratic Party lawmakers introduced a bill to turn the slogan “Labor Rights are Civil Rights” into the law of the land. While admitting the proposed legislation has little chance of passage in the current anti-labor environment, supporters say they hope shifting political winds may favor the bill sometime in the future.
A civil right is any right enshrined in the Constitution or legislation, such as freedom of assembly or freedom of the press. The new measure would affirm that labor rights are equally fundamental.
Titled the “Employee Empowerment Act,” the bill is short and simple. It would add a single paragraph to the 1935 National Labor Relations Act giving workers the right to sue employers in federal court for labor law violations, in the same way that individuals are allowed to bring lawsuits under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under current law, workers must bring such complaints to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which is often criticized for being very slow to act and offering wronged workers little in the way of compensation.
The bill’s introduction was announced yesterday at a press conference on the Capitol Hill lawn headlined by three of the most pro-labor members of the House of Representatives: Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y).