Press Release: Union Alliance Calls for Recognition at Reynolds Tobacco in North Carolina

April 3, 2006 – A unique alliance of two major unions and a majority of workers at Reynolds Tobacco facilities in Winston Salem, NC, are calling on the company to grant union recognition and begin bargaining for a contract that encourages growth, stability and a profitable future for the company and its workforce.

The United Tobacco Alliance for a Voice and Freedom (UTA), a joint effort by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union (BCTGM), today presented Reynolds with a petition signed by a majority of the over 2,000 production and maintenance workers at the company’s Winston-Salem and Tobaccoville, NC facilities.

“We are requesting union recognition based on clear evidence of support from a majority of workers at the company’s two facilities in Winston Salem,” said UTA spokesperson Bob Wood. “The current National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election process is needlessly prolonged and frequently used by companies to conduct hostile anti-union scare campaigns. These workers have expressed their desire for union representation in a neutral atmosphere and we believe their desire for a voice at work should be respected.”

Workers at Reynolds approached the IAM and the BCTGM following last year’s divisive NLRB election at Reynolds. Both unions have a long history representing the highly-skilled workers at cigarette-manufacturing plants throughout the United States.

“Our partnership is designed to bring the best qualities of both unions together, to give the workers the strongest possible representation,” said Wood. “The joint organizing campaign would be followed by joint administration of a single contract covering all bargaining unit employees at Reynolds.”

The United Tobacco Alliance today filed for an NLRB election if Reynolds American refuses to voluntarily recognize the union. “We urge Reynolds to do the right thing,” said Wood. “If an NLRB election is the only way to achieve representation, we are fully prepared to conduct a honest and fair campaign that will lead to a legally binding contract that gives workers at Reynolds the respect and the protection they deserve.”

Download a printable copy of the UTA Press Release here.