According to Local 14 Secretary-Treasurer Larry Griffith, the vote for representation by simple majority was a result of support staff's determination for strong union representation:
The unit first came to us in the early 2000s seeking strong union representation. The odds were against them but they never gave up. I couldn’t be prouder of this unit’s determination. Finally, we will put an end to the pay cuts and concessions by uniting at the bargaining table to win support staff a strong Teamster-backed contract.CCSD support staff has already voted overwhelmingly two times in favor of Local 14 representation – in a vote tabulated Feb. 3 and in 2006. Despite democratically voting to join the Teamsters, in both elections a supermajority, 50-percent-plus-1 of eligible voters was required to unseat the unit’s current representation, the Education Support Employees Association (ESEA).
After Local 14 overwhelmingly won with 71 percent of workers voting to join the Teamsters over the ESEA in February, however, the workers rallied in protest. Following the vote, on Feb. 12, support staff united once again at the Employee Management Relation Board (EMRB).
This time their voice could no longer be ignored and the EMRB ruled in favor of a third election – this time by a simple-majority vote – take place, acknowledging that the supermajority election rule for the support staff was not in the best interest of the employees. After hundreds of workers joined Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa on stage at the Teamsters Unity Conference this year, CCSD support staff launched a new campaign. This time, the rules are fair and democratic.
The excitement for Teamster representation is at an all-time high, says Carlos Pinto, head custodian at CCSD:
It’s been a long time coming, but change is finally here. We are all thrilled to become members of Local and win back what we have lost. We can’t wait to win a Teamster contract that will provide the respect workers deserve and the security our families need.