Teamsters Local 727 Takes a Stand Against Corporate Greed During COVID-19 Pandemic

| March 19, 2020

Over the weekend, the House passed legislation (Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6201) in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the key provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act impacting workers includes: 1) requiring employers to give paid sick leave in addition to what employers currently provide for those directly affected by COVID-19, and/or family members with COVID-19, and if the employee has or is suspected to have COVID-19 (coronavirus); 2) requiring employers to grant 12 weeks of job-protected paid Family and Medical Leave for employees to: respond to quarantine requirements, to care for family members responding to quarantine requirements, and to care for a child who’s school has been closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. As written, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act currently excludes employers with more than 500 employees. This exclusion was likely made under the assumption that larger companies have the financial stability to do the right thing and provide paid leave for their employees in this time of health and financial uncertainty.

Luckily, many large companies have taken the actions called for in the new legislation on their own. For example, clothing companies like Anthropologie and Lululemon have closed their stores throughout North America but have committed to paying their employees. Similarly, companies of all sizes in the Chicagoland area are finding ways to pay employees as schools, restaurants, and bars have closed. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for some of the Chicagoland’s biggest employers. For example, SP+ (NYSE:SP), a Chicago-based, multinational parking company, with employees working at some of Chicago’s best-known hotels (such as the Drake hotel) sent furlough notices to many employees. SP+ told its employees that they should expect to be furloughed for 90 days unpaid and offered no reassurances about paid leave. Instead, money-hungry SP+ is putting profit over people by giving these long-term employees one more thing to worry about in this uncertain time.

Similarly, LAZ Parking, a company who massively profited from the privatization of Chicago’s meter service is also turning its back on Chicago employees. Recently, LAZ contacted the Union and said they would also be furloughing dedicated, long-term Union parking members. While LAZ admitted they could potentially find spots for them at other locations, they went ahead and furloughed members—a move to save top executives thousands of dollars while hourly workers scramble to figure out how to feed their families. To date, Hotel Orrington (NYSE:HLT), Hilton O’Hare (NYSE:HLT), the Hyatt Regency (NYSE:H); MV Transportation; Hyatt O’Hare (NYSE:H), ABM (NYSE:ABM), Metropolitan Valet, Valet Parking Authority, Valet Parking Authority Services, Arlington Racecourse, Park One, Direct Employee Payment Co., and Metropolitan Valet have also told dedicated employees they would be furloughed without pay.

“The Union offered creative solutions that would have lessened the blow to employees. These solutions were summarily dismissed with no regard for each individual employee’s well-being. All employers, including LAZ, ABM, and SP+, and any other selfish company that resorts to furloughs in this time of need should be held accountable by the public, city, state and federal governments. Now is not the time to focus on profits, but to focus on everyone doing their part to keep Americans afloat. At the very minimum, this Union will hold these companies accountable and will not forget their heartless actions going forward. The city of Chicago will not forget how these greedy companies put profit over the city and employees that made them successful,” said John Coli, Jr. Secretary-Treasurer of Teamster Local 727.

Teamsters Local 727 has and will continue to demand that employers of all 727 members put families and their workers first to insure no member goes without pay during this time and has filed unfair labor charges against companies who have made unlawful unilateral changes and/or failed to bargain.

Teamsters Local 727 represents nearly 10,000 hardworking men and women throughout the Chicago area.

Nothing in this article should be read as the unions 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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