When elected as National President of TCU/IAM, National President Maratea committed to revitalizing the organizing efforts of our Union. He realized one of the ways to combat job cuts and to stay ahead of the various efforts of automation was to proactively seek out new unorganized workers, especially in our industry. He created the TCU/IAM Organizing Department currently composed of National Vice President Brian Shanahan, Executive Director of Organizing, Sal Rodriguez and Organizing Director Andrew Maratea. Their mission is to seek out new members and those who want representation by a Union to protect their rights. President Maratea asked all officers of this Union to “keep an eye out” for any possible avenues of organization.
Heeding that call was Unit 167, headed by National Vice President Nick Peluso. Nick, a long-time LIRR employee, knew many of the LIRR Management employees on the LIRR. He also saw many of them were unhappy about the way they were being treated and how much they were being paid.
Nick immediately saw this as an opportunity to organize. Nick worked with the TCU/IAM Organizing Department to set things in motion and was able to use the Organizing Department as a springboard for information and direct communication as questions arose during the drive to organize.
Using that information, Unit 167 set off to organize two groups of managers from two different Departments on the LIRR. One was M of E Managers and the other Stations Managers. They set out to meet with each of the managers and listen to their issues in the workplace. Each had their own problems that needed to be addressed by a Union.
As background, there are ten unions on the LIRR. Several unions approached these two groups in an effort to organize them. Both groups ultimately decided that they wanted TCU/IAM to represent them, in part because of our direct communication campaign and they knew TCU/IAM would do whatever it took to address their concerns.
National Vice President Peluso continued the campaign working directly with the TCU/IAM Organizing Department and Legal Council to ensure all the proper steps were followed for a successful campaign. After holding several meetings with both groups, Brother Peluso and Local Chairman John Murray identified and made a list of what our perspective new members were looking for. After receiving a majority of the “A” cards requesting Union membership, Unit 167 set out to make it a reality. The Carrier then recognized it was in their best interests, and voluntarily recognized our two organizing efforts.
This led to several months of tough negotiations with the Carrier and the respective Departments to hammer out several Rule changes and rate increases our new members expected and deserved. We first got rid of disparate rates of pay for similar work, and from there they received a 10% increase in their rates. We also were able to keep their Management benefits as long as they had enough years as a LIRR employee, and improved how their comp time was earned, used and cashed out.
Our new members couldn’t be happier to be represented by the TCU/IAM and proudly wear their TCU/IAM shirts and lanyards on the job with pride. They constantly thank us for not giving up on them and fighting for their rights.
Unit 167 has already been approached by another group of managers who would like the TCU/IAM to represent them as well.
Stay tuned for more updates.