The warehouse workers voted on September 18, seeking fair treatment, respect, job security and strong representation.
Mario Sapilak, a four-year IKEA employee, says he is thrilled to be a Teamster:
We are excited to have the strength of the Teamsters behind us. We need to have a voice at work and to have management listen to our concerns, and the Teamsters will help us achieve that.During their organizing drive, the workers got international support too. UNI-Global Union and other unions in Sweden that represent IKEA workers sent letters of support to Local 177.
Tracey A. Thompson, secretary-treasurer of Local 117, said global solidarity and Teamster support paid off:
We are grateful for the strong support of our labor partners abroad as well as the support of our own international union – the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. We are happy to welcome the IKEA warehouse workers to the Teamsters. We look forward to working with them to improve their working conditions and to help them achieve a strong contract.This is a big win considering that IKEA is not exactly the most union-friendly employer. In 2011 the furniture giant moved its factory in Eastern Europe to Danville, Va., to cut labor costs and take advantage of Virginia's "right to work" for less law against unions. And our brothers and sisters in British Columbia are still locked out by IKEA after rejecting a concessionary contract.
Unionized IKEA workers in Germany are also struggling with the company.
IKEA's bad labor relations are well known. Fortunately for our new brothers and sisters in Washington, they now have the protection of a strong union and a great local that fights hard for its members.
Welcome to the Teamsters!