9/5/08

Workers reject Teamsters using secret-ballot

Why Hoffa wants to eliminate union recognition elections

Workers for U.S. Foodservice in Arizona voted against organizing with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a union organizer said Thursday. The campaign to unionize U.S. Foodservice's warehouse employees, drivers and fleet maintenance workers began in April, said Kathy Tiihonen, an organizer for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 104.

The vote, tallied Thursday, was 120 for unionizing and 124 against, Tiihonen said.
Those who had pushed for the employees — including about 20 drivers in Tucson — to organize were disappointed with the result, she said.

Tiihonen said that within the next week, the Teamsters will file charges with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that U.S. Foodservice conducted unfair labor practices that violated workers' rights during the union's campaign.

According to Tiihonen, those violations included surveillance and unfair treatment of employees who supported unionization, including job threats.

If the board finds that U.S. Foodservice acted unfairly and led the Teamsters to lose support, another election can take place, Tiihonen said. If not, the union has to wait 12 months for another election.

U.S. Foodservice officials said they could not immediately comment on the unionization effort or the union's complaints.

U.S. Foodservice is divided into four regional divisions nationwide, and it has more than 27,000 employees working in roughly 70 distribution centers. The company provides food and related products to the food-service industry.

(azstarnet.com)

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