3/25/08

Legal lockout in St. Louis, unions fume

Three St. Louis labor unions are locked out of their jobs at America's Center. The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission says the job action follows more than a year of negotiations for a new agreement with audio-visual technicians. The CVC says costs and customer complaints are at the top of their list and the main reasons they say it's time for a new type of agreement.

One union leader called the lock-out a big black eye to the St. Louis community.

The Missouri Black Expo is one of dozens of events that take place each year at america's center.

Almost everyone needs audio and video for their events and that can only be supplied by IBEW AND IATSE, the Inernational Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees, since they choose the workers for the event.

Now the CVC wants all technicians to be CVC employees, although they can still belong to the unions.

And they want to end shadowing, a practice they say mandates that customers must hire local techs. But a memorandum of understanding would change that.

CVC board member Earl Wilson says race is an issue too. He says there's not enough diversity in the union ranks.

Bob Soutier, who heads the St. Louis Labor Council, agrees but says finding minority workers is a problem across the metro area but he adds, programs are in place to improve that situation.

(ksdk.com)

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