WESTMINSTER, Mass., Nov. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Teamster warehouse workers and drivers at Aubuchon Hardware's distribution facility found themselves locked out of their jobs when they reported to their shifts this morning. They were met by security who had been instructed to tell the workers that they were not allowed on the property.
The 60 warehouse workers and drivers at Aubuchon's distribution center are represented by Teamsters Local 170. After difficult contract negotiations that involved Aubuchon Hardware attempting to end its employees' pensions and significantly raise their health care costs, the workers and the company agreed on a contract on October 21.
The workers planned to hold a contract ratification vote, but before that happened, Aubuchon changed the contract to include language allowing the company to outsource the distribution center work.
"We told Aubuchon that we cannot let this company outsource these jobs and destroy the lives of 60 families in Massachusetts," said Shannon George, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 170. "They want to outsource their distribution business to Orgill, Inc. It is the height of hypocrisy for a company that calls itself locally-operated and community-oriented to send good New England jobs to a low-wage sub-contractor in West Virginia.
"The company refused to honor the contract we jointly agreed upon. Massachusetts communities have supported Aubuchon Hardware for decades. It's outrageous that the company would treat community members who work there in this fashion."
"I don't know what kind of people renege on something they've agreed to," said shop steward Bruce Girouard. "We discussed our contract for a long time. It feels like they're trying to cheat us out of job security by slipping in different language at the last minute."
"We showed up to work this morning and Aubuchon wouldn't let us in. Now we're out here on the street with no pay because the company is trying to starve us out just weeks before Thanksgiving, to force us to accept a contract that kills 60 jobs," Girouard said.
"The Teamsters will not allow companies to intimidate workers," said Sean O'Brien, Teamsters International Vice President, Teamsters Local 25 President and Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Joint Council 10 in New England. "The Teamsters are in the process of filing charges against Aubuchon with the National Labor Relations Board. This is a serious violation of federal laws protecting workers' rights. Teamster members throughout New England stand ready to support these members of Local 170 as they fight back against Aubuchon's abuses of workers and communities."
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @teamsters and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.
Contact: Shannon George, (508) 799-0551
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SOURCE Teamsters Local 170