CHICAGO, May 17, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly 50 security, fire and safety officers who serve and protect Chicago residents and tourists at Navy Pier will initiate an unfair labor practice strike on Thursday, May 18.
The officers, represented by Teamsters Local 727, had been employed by SMG and co-managed by Navy Pier, Inc. (NPI). A new employer, Allied Universal, assumed management of the officers today with NPI and has refused to recognize the Teamsters' collective bargaining agreement. Allied has made clear it plans to eliminate 90 percent of the union positions and replace experienced security professionals earning $24 an hour with outsourced workers making just $13. Allied also plans to eliminate officers' pensions and dramatically reduce their health care benefits.
"Navy Pier, Inc. and Allied have colluded to replace dedicated officers with less experienced workers for the sake of profit," said John Coli Jr., President of Local 727. "What's happening at Navy Pier is despicable and unconscionable. Management is putting our members' livelihoods at risk and the safety and security of the general public at Illinois' top tourist destination. Thousands of people visit Navy Pier every day, and NPI and Allied have no regard for their well-being."
Underscoring NPI's misplaced spending priorities, the Chicago Sun-Times last June reported NPI executives received 'big bonuses,' even though attendance at Navy Pier has fallen (bit.ly/2qSeI1Z).
Local 727 was forced to file unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board after NPI Chief Operating Officer Brian Murphy physically intimidated union representatives outside Navy Pier. The Teamsters will be filing additional charges against NPI and Allied.
Furthermore, another union has complicated the Teamsters' efforts to protect its members. As NPI and Allied abuse security, fire and safety officers at Navy Pier, it is seeking to bring in SEIU Local 1, and plans to hire at $13 an hour—much less than the existing Teamsters' contract.
"It's ironic that SEIU drives the Fight for $15 campaign to raise the minimum wage, yet Local 1 is being used by this company to lower the long-established wages and benefits at the Pier," Coli said.
Local 727 represents 43 security, fire and safety officers at Navy Pier, where the union has stood up for workers' rights for decades. The officers will take to the picket line early Thursday morning.
"I've been a part of the Teamsters Union for 15 years," said Officer Jeanine Kofron. "What's going on with Allied now is insane. They're trying to force us down. They're trying to force us out."
Michael Brandfon, (847) 696-7500
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SOURCE Teamsters Local 727