I am sending this in response to the misinformation that the companies are sending officers, and I as a security officer want to make sure fellow officers have the facts. At least one company has begun to circulate intimidation letters to their officers, but I expect most of the companies at some point will be circulating letters with similar content. The statements from the reported company letter are in bold font:
“As you know, the company has been in contract negotiations with the Union since November of 2012. Unfortunately, these negotiations have moved very slowly. The Union continues to impede our progress by revisiting unworkable non-economic items rather than turning to what is really important- wages and health insurance. The company is eager to start focusing on these items (wages and benefits) because they are important to you and to us”.
“Unworkable” means they are “unwilling” to negotiate over an issue, and while the companies may not deem issues like seniority, ease of grievance resolution, and protection from client removal important, I assure you they are important to people who are being wrongfully disciplined or terminated and waiting to be placed at a new job site.
Also, we gave them our economic proposal (wages and healthcare) over a month ago, and we have yet to receive a counter proposal from the companies. If they had your economic welfare at heart, they would have provided us with a proposal for affordable healthcare and raises that bring us out of poverty.
“Despite the union’s delays, we remain optimistic that we will reach an agreement with the union. We would like this to happen, however, sooner rather than later. In fact the company requested that a federal mediator attend the last bargaining session as a way of jump starting the negotiations. The parties have two bargaining sessions scheduled later this week, and others are scheduled later this month and next month. The company hopes that the union will be willing to use these sessions as a way to move forward and make real progress at the bargaining table, so that we can get you a completed contract.”
The companies’ request of a federal mediator is because there are 7 companies who regularly compete against each other and, as of yet, they have not even been able to agree with each other on how to move forward in bargaining. Coincidentally, the request for mediation was right after we marched 400 security officers and janitors through the skyways. It is also funny that they say they want to move forward and get a “completed contract,” when the companies collectively save $25,000 a month by not completing a contract. Which is why when we told them we can meet at ANY time to settle this, they have agreed to only 7 dates so far (1 of which they cancelled, and 3 of which they arrived up to 4.5 hours late).
“If a strike or work stoppage occurs, we will continue to operate and service our clients. All Officers who wish to work are welcome. If you arrive at work and there is a picket line, you can:
1) Cross the picket line and report to work as usual. We will continue to pay you your full rate of pay.
2) Refuse to cross the picket line. We will not discipline you for doing so. However, we intend to continue to operate and as a result, you may be temporarily or permanently replaced. You will stop earning any pay from the company as of the first day of the work stoppage, your benefits may be discontinued, and you will be ineligible for unemployment benefits.”
The only reason they will not discipline you is because they CAN’T. You are protected by federal law for participating in union activity. They will try to replace you during a strike if they can. However, they can NOT replace you permanently, nor can they take away your benefits or dictate anything related to potential unemployment.
“Our intention in distributing this notice is to let you know that if there is a strike, neither we nor the Union can interfere with your decision whether or not to work and you should weigh your options carefully without fear of intimidation or coercion”.
Their intention in distributing this letter is to make you feel intimidated, while trying to make their clients feel like service will be not be interrupted, and if there is an interruption, it is the union’s fault. The reality is far different – companies lying to their clients and employees is pretty standard. The question is, will you believe the lies, or will you find out what you’re rights really are?
The only fully truthful thing in their letter is “neither we nor the Union can interfere with your decision whether or not to work, and you should weigh your options carefully without fear of intimidation or coercion”.
The only movement that has been made by the companies is in direct response to the two marches we did and the strike vote we have passed. Keep the momentum going – the more you are involved, the more power we have. When we fight, we win!
Your bargaining team