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Local 743 Officials In Bed With Management

by staff |
April 2, 1999
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Chicago, IL - Following a crooked union election in Teamsters Local 743, management has gotten more aggressive in its attacks. Among those hit hardest have been employees at the University of Chicago Hospitals (UCH), Local 743's largest workplace with over 1300 Teamster members.

UCH imposed an attendance policy that seems designed to eliminate much of the union workforce. UCH wants to get rid of experienced employees because they get more pay, more vacation, and more sick time in the two-tiered union contract. Two-tier contracts place newer employees on a lower wage and benefit scale than more senior employees.

UCH was able to impose this two-tier system during the last contract negotiations, with the help of Local 743 President Chester Glanton and Local 743 Business Agent Philip John. The workers fought back and rejected this sell out agreement by a vote of 611 to 220.

This victory was short lived. Despite overwhelming rejection by UCH workers, Philip John and Chester Glanton signed the agreement. This was the worst labor agreement in the history of the Teamsters relationship with UCH. The contract gives incentive to management to get rid of current employees.

But this is not all. Management now has targeted employees most noted for resistance. Workers who were outspoken in denouncing the last contract and who challenged Glanton in the union's last elections are being singled out.

Dissident union steward Michele Schira is the most extreme example. Schira ran for the 743 executive board against the corrupt Glanton slate. This so outraged Glanton's friends in UCH management that they tried to fire Schira. It has come to light that they tried to convince a new employee to fabricate a story that could cost Schira her job.

Even the pro-management National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found evidence in UCH's own documents that they were out to get Schira for her union activities. UCH is currently seeking a settlement with the NLRB.

As UCH Teamsters prepare for another round of contract negotiations, Michele Schira is as defiant as ever. "The workers at UCH have woken up," she stated. "We know that only an involved and active rank and file can make our union leaders and management do what is right."

Schira and others at UCH are ready for the fight.