For immediate release
August 7, 2009
Maya DeHart, [email protected]
Contract includes Employee Bill of Rights for Respect
UNITE HERE members employed by Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services (DNC-THS), the airport division of Delaware North, ratified by an overwhelming 98% margin a new collective bargaining agreement today. This is a remarkable victory with a company that up until recently had been collaborating with SEIU in its attempt to raid UNITE HERE’s DNC airport membership.
HERE, which merged with UNITE in 2004 to form UNITE HERE, has represented a national bargaining unit of employees of DNC-THS for over 20 years. The national bargaining unit currently encompasses around 2,100 workers at 15 airport locations throughout the United States: Phoenix, Arizona; Ontario, California; Denver, Colorado; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; Detroit, Michigan; Newark, New Jersey; Syracuse, New York; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Memphis, Tennessee; Nashville, Tennessee; Austin, Texas; Dallas, Texas; Houston, Texas and Richmond, Virginia.
Unfortunately, at the same time that UNITE HERE members across the country were in tough negotiations with DNC-THS, SEIU was attempting a raid. Through this week, SEIU has had large numbers of organizers, up to 10-12 at once at some airports, soliciting signatures nationwide on cards for a decertification election.
Tessa Cortera, a food server at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, commented, "My question for SEIU is why they would try to raid already-organized workers in contract negotiations during the worst economic downturn in decades? I am just grateful they haven’t been successful and we were able to win the contract we deserve."
DNC-THS workers ratified a one-year contract that secures an Employee Bill of Rights for Respect, addressing a long list of protections and rights for workers around training, health and safety, seniority, time off and cash handling. The new contract also guarantees no employee increase in the cost of health insurance over the contract’s term. The company and workers will immediately begin to negotiate, with the workers seeking lower cost health insurance and a shorter waiting period to enroll dependents in the next contract after next year.
"When we initially proposed the Bill of Rights for Respect months ago, the company rejected a lot of it. Now they’re agreeing to our proposal almost entirely and it will go into effect immediately. This is a great victory, but we know the fight’s not over because we are committed to improving our health care," said Maria Estrada, a cook at the Ontario International Airport in California.