UE Local 716 has gained 50 new members through National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) elections at two rail yards in Ohio. Local 716 is the new statewide local of rail crew van drivers in Ohio employer by Hallcom (formerly Renzenberger.) These two wins bring to seven the number of rail yards represented by the Local 716. The NLRB counted the ballots on June 13.
The NLRB conducted the vote by mail-in ballot elections. Drivers at the CSX rail yard in Cleveland voted 19 to 0 for UE. Drivers at the CSX yard in Crestline vote 14 to 3 for UE. Crestline is a small community in north central Ohio.
Both groups overcame an intense anti-union campaign by the company. In Crestline the company tried to win people over by giving an unexpected raise to each worker, ranging from 25 to 75 cents an hour, just two days after the union petitioned the NLRB to conduct an election. The Crestline drivers wisely accepted the raise and still voted for UE, knowing that the union provides the best way to increase their pay. The Cleveland drivers were never offered a raise and they were united in aggressive struggle.
When the company sent its labor relations manager to give its “25th hour” anti-union speech (by law the company must cease its propaganda in the final 24 hours before the vote), the workers in Cleveland were ready to talk back, to such an extent that the boss ended up pleading for a chance to speak at “his” meeting. So they allowed him about 30 seconds to speak, and then the workers resumed telling him how the company had mistreated them and why they were voting to form a union.
UE Field Organizer George Waksmunski assisted the Cleveland and Crestline workers in their organizing campaigns.