| April 20, 2020

LAZ Parking loves to pat themselves on the back for allegedly helping their employees navigate the stressful financial difficulties resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic; but what have they really done for the employees? Instead of remedying the outstanding grievance and ULPs filed by Teamster Local 727 and returning furloughed workers, LAZ has taken credit for payroll protection programs that LAZ  itself refuses to participate in and asked members to enter into a competition for money from their employer.

LAZ Parking Chairman and CEO Alan Lazowski has seemingly taken personal credit for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, an action that is presumably as grandiose as it is delusional.  In fact, LAZ has informed Local 727 that LAZ Parking has not and will not seek to apply for any of the federal or local relief programs – including the CARES Act – that were created with the intent of keeping employees on the payroll during the pandemic.  With monetary relief available under the CARES Act, why wouldn’t LAZ Parking take advantage of the relief and do everything in their power to keep the employees they claim to care for so deeply on payroll?   It seems that LAZ Parking has chosen profits over people, regardless of what they seem to claim publicly.

Instead of taking advantage of these programs and protecting the workers that actually make their company profitable, LAZ Parking Chicago unceremoniously furloughed dozens of hikers, cashiers, and other parking industry employees. All of these employees are members of Local 727 and were furloughed without notice before the stay-at-home order was even in place.  Following the mass unilateral furlough of employees, LAZ Parking claimed that they assisted these same employees in applying for State Unemployment Benefits, but many Local 727 members reported otherwise. In fact members contacted the Union and stated that they were extremely confused about what they needed to do to file for unemployment.  These members stated that they were given no direction, whatsoever, from the Company – a Company that says that they consider their employees to be family.  “If this is how LAZ treats “family,” then I wonder how they treat their enemies as this action is appalling,” said John Coli Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 727.

LAZ Parking has also applauded itself for creating the “LAZ Employee Relief Fund” which is nothing more than a glorified contest in which LAZ Parking employees must fill out an application full of arbitrary questions and then wait for an undisclosed LAZ Parking internal committee to “review” the applications and decide who is worthy of money.  Local 727 Business Representative Melissa Senatore took it upon herself to encourage members to apply after she was repeatedly told by members that they had no idea it existed.  Sadly, many members reported that they were not told about the Relief Fund at the time LAZ furloughed them.  Subsequently, they were seemingly out of luck when they discovered that the strangely short application window had already passed.  Even more disappointing, furloughed Local 727 members have informed the Union that they received a letter from LAZ Parking CEO Alan Lazowski, which denies their application for the grant but gives no rhyme or reason as to why.  A copy of that letter can be found here.

“The idea that helping someone apply for unemployment benefits or hosting some sort of contest to get thrown a bone from your employer is not only laughable, it’s incredibly distasteful. LAZ seems to always take any opportunity it has to do the wrong thing—it should be no surprise that at a time where many employers are doing everything in their power to protect their frontline workers, LAZ not only violated the contract, but won’t even attempt to find a way to keep their workers on the payroll. I hope Alan Lazowski and the rest of LAZ management “work tirelessly” to find their conscience and do the right thing. Not only did they violate the law and the CBA, but they have mistreated their employees in a way they will likely never recover from,” said John Coli, Jr., Secretary-Treasurers, Teamsters Local 727.

Questions should be directed to Business Representative Melissa Senatore at (847) 696-7500.

Nothing in this article should be read as the union’s waiver of any legal argument, position or grievance(s), or as a waiver of any rights, arguments, or defenses under any contract, collective bargaining agreement, or applicable law. The union does not forfeit its right to make any and all supplemental arguments.

Category: Union News

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