Last month, after an almost four-month-long campaign, building maintenance employees of Summit Health Management in New Jersey, including electricians, HVAC technicians, painters, maintenance technicians and maintenance coordinators, voted for IAM representation.
IAM District 15 Business Representative Cristino Vilorio led the campaign, which was met by the company hiring a known union-busting firm to shut down workers’ organizing efforts.
“It was a tough campaign due to the fact that the company hired the anti-union law firm Jackson Lewis,” said Vilorio. “But with the help of District 15 Directing Business Representative Norm Shreve and IAM Eastern Territory Grand Lodge Representative Andrew Hounshell and Special Representative Brent Coleman, we were successful in organizing this group. Maintaining the group’s togetherness was essential. It was a lot of work and a combination of forces to be able to win.”
Despite facing common and slanderous union-busting tactics, the 15 building maintenance employees who service 253 healthcare facilities voted to join the IAM.
IAM District 15 Assistant Directing Business Representative Mike Vartabedian led an internal organizing campaign at L3 Harris that was won just last week.
Originally, Vartabedian and the test technicians at L3 Harris KOE’s North Hampton, Mass., location were seeking voluntary recognition from the employer since the IAM already represents machinists and assembly workers there.
The company insisted on an election, which the IAM overwhelmingly won.
“The test technicians had been talking about joining the union for years, but it was intimidating to them,” said Vartabedian. “They finally overcame that concern about organizing and were brave enough to take the step forward and join our membership at L3 Harris. We are honored to represent them.”
IAM District 15 Directing Business Representative Norm Shreve says that he’s never met someone who doesn’t want a union job, but people are very frightened about taking that step.
“It was the hard work and dedication of the District 15 staff who put in the effort to make sure we could secure a good future for these future members by staying with them and getting the new Summit Health members through an anti-union campaign from Jackson Lewis, and then bringing another L3 Harris group into the union,” said Shreve.
“I am incredibly impressed by the District 15 representatives’ commitment to organizing and giving people a voice in their workplace,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President David Sullivan. “The District 15 staff gave our new members the confidence they needed to change their lives for the better. That will always be our mission, as union representatives.”