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U of C Teamsters Demand a Fair Contract

by staff |
April 2, 2000
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Chicago, IL - Local 743 Teamsters are fed up. Their union officials refused to fight for a decent contract with the University of Chicago Hospitals (UCH). So Local 743 members at UCH finally decided to do something about their do-nothing leadership.

On Monday March 6, they came in mass to the union's regular monthly meeting. Rides were coordinated. Out in front of the union hall, minivans and old cars arrived one after the other, and out would jump eight or ten more UCH workers.

When the time came, the big hall was filled with UCH workers, over 200 strong. They presented a petition with over 400 signatures calling for Local 743 Business Agent Philip John to be fired. Environmental Services Union Steward Richard Berg read the petition, "Philip John has no plan to resolve our problems...we reject settling short, and we reject Philip John."

Local 743 President Chester Glanton was visibly shaken. [Glanton is also a Teamster International Vice President allied with International President James Hoffa - ed.] For three hours, workers went to the microphone, militantly and forcefully demanding that this union represent the workers at UCH.

Glanton attempted to pour cold water on the workers' demands. He deliberately played dumb, and he made promises that he forgot as quick as he made them.

Under the Glanton/John leadership, UCH wage increases have been much less than similar area hospital workers. The UCH pension is an insult for 743 members. UCH workers' health premiums have gone from free, to where they now have to pay hundreds of dollars a year.

The UCH attendance policy may be the most punitive in the industry. Recently, when workers complained about severe and unilateral changes made by UCH, Business Agent Philip John supported the hospital and its policies. He was heard to have said, "Only workers with problem attendance don't like this policy."

Workers at UCH know this contract is a bad deal. They voted down a similar offer 824-44, then they voted this one down 608-154. In the second vote, Philip John, UCH bosses, and their lackeys went all out in trying to scare workers into voting "yes."

Both the union and management promised that workers would lose their jobs if they did not accept the UCH/Philip John/Chester Glanton sell-out. "Normally it is not a good idea to attack your union representatives during negotiations," said UCH Food Service Worker Dorothy Singleton. "But Philip John and Chester Glanton are so obviously against the workers here, that we had no choice."

After the March 6 union meeting, UCH Teamsters knew that they had shaken things up. "Tonight we made a difference," said Local 743 member Steve Ellis. "And if things don't change we will be back again next month. The workers united will never be defeated."

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