LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – Approximately 190 ABM Shuttle Drivers who transport UPS employees to their job sites at UPS Worldport have joined Teamsters Local 89 in one of the largest organizing victories in Louisville’s modern history.
In addition to being a historic win due to the number of workers involved, it was also achieved in an unprecedented fashion. Forgoing the standard National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election process, Teamsters Local 89 showed its militant prowess by signing up approximately 70 percent of the shuttle drivers before demanding recognition from ABM management.
“Demanding recognition is difficult because companies are always aggressively against their workers forming a union,” said Organizer Bryan Trafford. “But when you have a very militant and powerful union with the overwhelming support of the workers, you can take on that fight.”
ABM, a multi-billion-dollar Fortune 500 company, was given time to consider the demand and it was made clear that a strike for recognition was likely imminent should they choose to ignore their employee’s desire to become Teamsters. Although ABM initially pushed back, they ultimately agreed to recognize their workers as Teamsters if a neutral arbitrator determined that Local 89 had majority support. That process was completed late in the evening on Thursday, March 16th with the arbitrator confirming a super majority of drivers had signed Teamsters organizing cards.
“ABM recognized that they were going to get struck if they ignored the will of their workers, and if that happened, they wouldn’t be able to provide shuttle service for UPS Worldport,” said President Avral Thompson. “So, their management team made the smart choice and agreed to honor their driver’s decision to join our union.”
Now that ABM has recognized their shuttle drivers as Teamsters, the next steps in the organizing process can begin. In the near future Local 89 will reach out to ABM management to discuss scheduling dates for contract negotiations and will also begin holding meetings for shuttle drivers to formally propose what they want to see in their contract.
“We’re excited to have these folks join our Local 89 family,” said Secretary-Treasurer Jeff Cooper. “We believe there’s a lot we can do for them to make their lives better, and we’re going to use every resource we have to get them the contract they deserve.”
Founded in 1933, Teamsters Local 89 represents over 17,000 workers in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.