2/20/03 Dart Update

The election will be officially certified tomorrow. Bob Crane, Martin Perez, Ralph Garcia and I were on hand for some huge open meetings. New faces all over the place. Lots of questions, concerns and emotions. I announced that it was one of the last times I would see the workers. The next few weeks will be the transitional stage where I step aside for the next process of bargaining a contract. Below is an article (positive press!) out of the Press Enterprise:

Dart Container employees vote to join union
CORONA: Labor and company officials insist that they will negotiate a contact in good faith.


CORONA-Employees at Dart Container Corp's manufacturing facility in Corona decided last week to join an Oregon-based union by a vote of more than 63 percent, a federal official said Tuesday.

Production, warehouse and maintenance workers voted 320-185 to join the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers, said John Hatem, field examiner for the National Labor Relations Board. The results of the Feb. 14th vote will become official Friday if no challenges are filed, Hatem said.

Workers will have to elect a committee to bargain with the company, which manufactures foam cups and plates, plastic cup lids and other disposable food items. Union organizer Richard Marks said he hopes the contract negotiations will go smoothly.

"This is a time to heal, "Marks said. "We want no adversarial conditions with Dart. It was the workers democratic choice to join the union, and now that they have, we don't want a confrontational relationship."

Dart workers earn an average of $12 an hour, and Marks said that is not enough for a family to live on in Corona. He also said employees make health insurance co-payments of as much as $200 a month.

Marks said he wants to start negotiations as soon as possible.

Jim Lammers, Dart's vice president for administration and general counsel, agrees, saying the Mason, Mich., company wants to move ahead in a positive way.

"We're disappointed in the vote, but we're looking forward and moving forward and bargaining with the union in good faith," Lammers said. "In the relatively near future, we'll move to what lies ahead."

The union's petition drive and the weeks leading to the election were contentious. The union filed charges with the NLRB, including one accusing Dart of threatening to leave Corona. The company has denied it would relocate to avoid a union shop.

Several of the complaints have been dropped, but some charges are still under investigation, said Hatem, the NLRB spokesman. They could be dropped by the union at any time, he said.

Also, Marks said, in the weeks leading to the vote, Dart officials could legally campaign against the union on company time, individually and at group meetings. The union could not do that.

"The company had a captive audience," Marks said. "But the workers were inoculated against that."

Clerical and professional workers, supervisors and security guards did not participate in the elections. Marks said truck drivers were contacted but not included because it was determined there was little interest in joining.       

Reach Jack Katzanek at (909) 368-9553 or jkatzanek@pe.com

The latest Newsletter:

Editors note: This newsletter was created for DART employees by DART employees for the purpose of educating the workforce on the progress of the union campaign and the benefits of working union. Inside this newsletter.
Bargaining Board Election Information
Union Meetings
A Welcome from local 5
Comparison on back

Let the Bargaining Board Begin!!

In the next few weeks you will be nominating potential bargaining board members from your ranks at your one of the weekly meetings. A person must nominate a worker for consideration, and that person must accept in person, or in writing. There will probably be 5 people representing these departments: 1 for Warehouse (851), 1 for Maintenance (951 & 954), 1 for "C" building (450 & 545) and 2 for "A" building (450 & 545).  Other officers will be elected in the future. We are currently looking for an office and hall for you workers to be able to meet in mass and be informed of the process from here on out.

Attend your Union Meeting!

Tuesdays at Midnight after swing Shift at the Dynasty Suites Hotel 6th Street & Paseo Grande.
Wednesday's 8am - Dynasty Suites.
Wednesdays 2pm & 4pm - Pizza Palace Magnolia and Rimpau.

Many thanks to all the In Plant Committee Organizers for their efforts from the Volunteer Organizing crew from assorted AWPPW locals!

A welcome from local 5 in Camas Washington

Local 5 would like to congratulate the employees of Dart Container in their recent successful election bid and their effort to take control of their future. We would like to welcome the newest members of the Association of Western Pulp And Paper Workers. Your recent decision is only but a step in the long journey ahead, one that will never end, as there is no destination, only many wonderful stops along the way. Although there will be times of turmoil and exasperation, keep your heads high, for YOU have made the decision to take control of your future. All of the resources of every local will be made available to you for the asking, but as you know, the Union is YOU, and YOU will be the ones who will make the decisions regarding your future now. The history of the AWPPW is one of individuals, who took the initiative to stand tall, be "Rebel's", to work for common justice, and to fight for the benefits, and working conditions that are rightfully yours. Your vote confirms that "Rebel Spirit", and we are proud to welcome you into the association.

Together in Solidarity,
Fraternally Yours,
AWPPW Local 5
Camas, WA

Remember, you will not pay union dues until after you vote on a contract! And you will not pay initiation fees! Pass it on!

If you have any other pressing questions, please call toll free:

May the Lord give you increase more and more, you and your children.
Psalm 115:14

A Dart worker answer to Camas:

To the chapter Local 5 in Camas
by Bony Fingers

       Wow!  I am assuming that I can speak for all of us when I say that we're very grateful for you friendly support!  We are very happy to have new brothers and sisters who wish us well in our battle for better treatment, pay, and benefits!  Your association dues have helped provide us with our chance at salvation.  We're indeed grateful!
       What caused us to unionize?  Well, the "special treatment" we've had.  For example, without reason we were ordered to leave our ventilation fans turned off during the hottest week last summer.  That helped a little.  Then we worked 6-day weeks for a month then 10 days straight through July 3rd!  Does falling into an exhausted sleep during the 4th of July fireworks seem patriotic to you?   Well, it was "inspiring" for our workers!
       We've been written up for packing bad product one week and then we've been ordered to pack the same bad product the next!  Personnel was handing out countless bad attendance points in error and then not correcting them after hundreds of complaints.  For Christmas we got the one day off.  For New Years we again got the one day off.  You get the picture.  No respect.
       But something has changed.  The plant used to have a lone, sleepy security guard who just checked up on trucks.  Now there's a half dozen sharp uniformed guards eyeballing us underpaid workers as we enter and leave!   It's not so much intimidation.  It reflects more upon the fear of a boss who thinks he's loosing control!  And he's hired lawyers to do all his talking for him.  This is an insult to the 135 EXTRA YES UNION votes in our plant!  He pays lip service to hearing and correcting complaints while ignoring the vote, barring our representatives from the plant, and hiding behind litigious lawyers and uniformed guards.  He's almost like a turtle hiding in his shell!  It doesn't take a genius to see why.  How can he face us?  Our organization movement was one of the fastest campaigns ever!  What an embarrassment! 
       We're extremely happy to be AWPPW's newest chapter, and we're over 700 strong!  Truly, thanks again for the help!  You done good!

Good to go!