On Martin Luther King's 80th birthday, sanitation workers in the suburbs around Fort Worth voted down management union decertification effort. Union leaders from Teamsters Local 767 said that Allied Waste bosses had brought in a union-busting attorney to try to destroy the union. He or she must have been very disappointed when the workers voted to keep the union by more than 2 to 1!
Teamsters 767 is the same big North Texas local that demonstrated how solidarity can work during the big contract battle against UPS management in 1997. They continued their successful solidarity strategy with this small unit of solid waste haulers. Unions from all around Tarrant County joined the Teamsters in a rally on the day before the decert election, January 14. They were joined by Jobs with Justice and a number of young activists from surrounding colleges. Union organizers utilized radio and the world wide web to mobilize their support.
Allied Waste has stalled the organizing process for more than a decade. Activists at the rally pointed out that the strongest feature of the proposed Employee Free Choice Act may well be the restrictions it puts on management's ability to stall. The fight for the new legislation is getting a boost from the Teamster victory.
Martin Luther King Jr was murdered while helping sanitation workers in a similar battle in Memphis. The Teamster group in Fort Worth brought home that lesson of civil rights and union partnership during their struggle. They used the same theme as the Memphis battle, "I AM A MAN!" They intend to bring that same message into the Martin Luther King Birthday celebrations.
Teamsters 767 also marched in the Dallas Martin Luther King Jr parade/march on January 17. For coverage, see:
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