South Texas Detention Center Workers Go IAM

From left: Zulma Martinez, District 776 Organizer Sylvia Zavala, Edith DeAlba and District 776 Organizer Chub McCrory.


IAM District 776 can chalk up another important organizing win, this time in Laredo, TX. Seventy-three workers at the Rio Grande Detention Center, employed by GEO Group, voted overwhelmingly to join the IAM.

The victory goes wall-to-wall for non-guard personnel at the facility, and is the first detention center win in the IAM’s Southern Territory. Job classifications include Maintenance, Plumbing, Librarian, Cooks, Laundry Techs, LVN Laborers, Case Managers, Training Coordinator and Psychological Assistant.

“This win is just the start,” said IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Mark Blondin. “The GEO Group has service contracts at dozens of federal detention centers in Texas, Oklahoma, Florida and all across the country. Our experience representing workers under the Service Contract Act make those locations prime targets for organizing.”

Recent organizing successes have been racking up in the IAM’s Southern Territory. Earlier this month, also in Laredo, helicopter mechanics at PAE unanimously voted in the IAM. The region is filled with worksites that need union representation. Various local, state and federal facilities, along with military bases with civilian employees under service contracts, are ripe for organizing.

“It’s another good win for District 776 and the Territory,” said IAM Grand Lodge Representative Dave Porter. “Workers across the South are realizing the need for a strong union contract, and the Southern Territory is always ready to blaze new trails in making life better for American workers. Congratulations to our newest members, and a great job by Brother Chub McCrory and Sister Sylvia Zavala down in south Texas.”