Parking Lot Justice
Local 25 in Boston Embarks on Campaign to Give Workers Security
More than 330 workers at Central Parking voted recently to join Local 25 in Boston, kicking off a city-wide campaign to provide a more secure future to a workforce that has been exploited for years. View more photos here.
“In a city like Boston, where parking spots are a rarity, residents and visitors are often forced to park in a privately owned parking lot and pay a premium price to park,” said Sean M. O’Brien, President of Local 25. “Parking attendants and frontline workers are usually the first and sometimes only interaction drivers have with the company. Instead of working against them, parking companies like Central Parking should be working together with their employees.”
Teamster parking workers from Minnesota and New York joined Boston workers, elected officials and community supporters in late March at a raucous rally in downtown Boston to call on Central Parking to stop its war on its parking workers.
The rally also drew attention to Local 25’s plan to organize more than 2,000 workers in the parking industry to bring justice to the region’s many parking facilities.
Ernie Yates, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 665 in the San Francisco area and chairman of the Teamsters Parking Council, also attended and pledged his support.
During the rally, hundreds of workers and supporters listened to speakers address the crowd from the back of the Local 25 tractor-trailer rig, which was parked across the street from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. People passing by on foot stopped to listen. The rally drew the most attention when the crowd marched in front of the hotel’s doors shouting “No Justice, No Peace!” and “Who are we? Teamsters! What do we want? Contract,” and other chants.
Despite the election victory, Central Parking management continues to disregard the outcome of the election by firing union supporters and stalling the certification process, thus delaying any contract negotiations.
“Teamsters Local 25 believes that all workers should have the right to organize and fight for quality wages and benefits. Instead of investing in the people who drive the company, Central Parking would rather invest in keeping out the union,” O’Brien said.
The rally took place in front of the Ritz-Carlton hotel, where Central Parking runs the hotel’s parking garage. Teamster locals from other parts of the country sent parking workers to the rally to support Boston’s workers.
“I’m here to support my brothers,” said Engeda Shiferaw, a member of Local 120 in St. Paul, Minn. who works at Ampco Parking in that city. “We had the same experiences as Central Parking workers. I’m here to help them win their contract and to organize.”
Shiferaw, a native of Ethiopia in East Africa, said becoming a Teamster six years ago changed everything for the good.
“Before the Teamsters, I was not sure my job was secure,” Shiferaw said. “I was working for low wages. After the Teamsters, I have better benefits and my job is secure.”
Amanuel Mosazghi, a Local 120 member who works at the airport in Minneapolis, has been a Teamster for 16 years.
“As a Teamster, I get the benefits, health and welfare, permanent work hours, permanent days off—it’s not pick and choose by management,” he said. “I’m here to support the Boston workers in their fight to join the Teamsters.”
Trade Show History
Local 25 Workers Become Highest Paid in the Industry
Local 25 Trade Show members ratified a new five-year agreement in early April that provides a fair hiring process based on seniority and wage increases, making the workers the highest paid in the industry in the United States. The agreement also maintains health, welfare and pension benefits.
“This is a historic agreement for our Trade Show members,” said Sean M. O’Brien, President of Local 25. “It creates a legal referral system where members will be hired based on their seniority, not on favoritism. The days of unfair treatment are over.”
The agreement, which was ratified by a 92-percent margin, provides annual wage increases averaging 83 cents per hour. At the end of the agreement, the workers will get paid $39 an hour, making them the highest paid in the industry anywhere in the country.
The agreement also secures health, welfare and pension benefits and retains a union-run annuity fund that the employers pay into. The wages and health, welfare and pension contributions total $2.20 per hour annually.
The agreement covers 28 companies and the 300 to 500 employees who are working at any given time. The Trade Show members had belonged to Local 82, which merged with Local 25 on January 1, 2012.