Thursday, December 30, 2010

Woo-hoo! Continental ramp workers ratify first contract!

It's official! Continental Airlines 7,600 fleet service workers can look forward to job security and four pay hikes over the next 2-1/2 years, now that they've ratified their first-ever contract.

The "We Have Our First Contract!" flier announcing the great news says,
...the contract offers protections against unjust discipline, terminations, outsourcing and furloughs, and provides for 10.5 percent pay increases over the life of the 30-month contract. The contract protects our pension, caps health-care costs and provides for our bonus...
This is a big victory in the war to raise workers' living standards. It's very hard to get to that first contract. Many newly-organized workers never manage to bargain successfully with their employers. A Cornell University professor who studied the problem found 52 percent of workers who form a union are still without a contract a year after they win an election. Two years after the election, 37 percent don't have a contract.

The  Teamsters negotiating committee did a great job with Continental management. Miguel Vasquez, a fleet service worker in Newark, was on the committee. He said the contract adds protections for workers -- "including an important grievance procedure."

James Wells, a fleet service worker in Boston, said he's looking forward to having some solid protections in writing. “Without a contract we don’t have any real power, but now we’ll be able to flex some muscle when we stand up for our rights.”

Meet some of the other Continental fleet service workers here.