UNI Swedish Commission of Inquiry Holds Three Hearings in U.S.
WASHINGTON, March 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Legal and security experts testified about workers' rights violations by Loomis, an armored car guard company, before a public hearing at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The hearing was held by UNI's Swedish Commission of Inquiry into the Labor Practices of Loomis.
The commission, which is comprised of Swedish union leaders and legal experts, was organized by UNI, the global labor federation for services sector workers which is headquartered in Switzerland. Members of the commission traveled to the United States to investigate reports of workers' rights violations at Loomis US.
Loomis US is a subsidiary of Swedish cash logistics corporation Loomis AB [STO:LOOMB]. Loomis armored car guards in California had union representation for the last 58 years, until the company unilaterally decided that it will not allow its California employees to continue to be represented by the Teamsters and is refusing to negotiate new contracts.
Loomis subsequently cancelled its employees' retirement plan, changed to a substandard health care plan that costs workers up to $700 a month, and can now terminate employees without just cause. Older employees with years of experience can be replaced by younger, less expensive employees.
Loomis guards were represented by Teamsters Local Union 150 in Sacramento; Teamsters Local Union 315 in San Mateo; Teamsters Local Union 396 in Los Angeles; Teamsters Local Union 439 in Stockton; Teamsters Local Union 542 in San Diego; and Teamsters Local Union 853 in San Jose.
At the Friday, Feb. 24 hearing, Rome Aloise, Teamsters International Vice President, said, "Loomis armored car guards chose union representation 58 years ago, and their guards continue to make that choice to this day. Even though the right to bargain collectively is a fundamental human right, Loomis decided unilaterally to de-recognize their union. I am thankful to UNI for convening these hearings and to the Commission for investigating these violations of U.S. and international law."
Wilma Liebman, former Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), testified that current case law in the U.S. improperly restricts the free choice of armored car guard to choose union representation.
Lance Compa, Senior Lecturer of International & Comparative Labor at Cornell University, testified that Loomis is violating international law and International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions.
Peter Bakvis, Director of the Washington Office of the International Trade Union Confederation/Global Unions, testified that Loomis is committing violations of internationally recognized workers' rights and added, "It is completely unacceptable for Loomis to walk away from its responsibilities when it is convenient."
Armored car guard is one of the most dangerous jobs in America. Guards are regularly robbed and shot while delivering cash. Loomis reduced the number of employees on armored car teams from three to two and sometimes one, and no longer provides workers with guns or bulletproof vests.
Jim McGuffey, an armored car and security expert, testified that Loomis front line employees continue to receive low wages and few benefits, and that once the economy begins to turn there will be a day of reckoning. "Reducing crews to one person is ludicrous and will only increase risk for Loomis guards, the public and customers," McGuffey said.
On Wednesday of last week, the UNI Swedish Commission of Inquiry also held a hearing in Los Angeles. Ron Herrera, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 396, testified about the devastation Loomis workers experience now that their job and retirement security has been taken from them, even though they put our lives on the line every day.
Kent Wong, Director of the UCLA Labor Center, testified that Loomis' withdrawal of union recognition violates U.S. law, and also violates internationally-recognized labor standards established by the ILO, the United Nations and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) multinational guidelines.
Linda Delp, Director of the UCLA Labor Occupational Safety & Health Program, testified about the risks Loomis' practices pose to armored car guards' and the public's safety.
The Swedish delegation is comprised of Alice Dale, Head of the UNI Global Union Property Services Department; Stellan Garde, former legal counsel at the Swedish LO-TCO Trade Union Confederation and Commissioner of International Commission of Jurists; Martin Viredius, Vice President of the Swedish Transport Workers' Union; Goran Larsson, International Secretary of the Swedish Transport Workers' Union; and Peder Palmstierna, former press officer of the Swedish Social Democrat Party.
On Tuesday, Feb. 21, the UNI Swedish Commission held its first hearing in Berkeley, Cal.
Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union 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 @TeamsterPower.
SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters