Striking Daycon Teamsters Leaflet at National Air and Space Museum

Jun 04, 2010, 10:00 ET from Teamsters Local Union 639

Workers Raise Awareness of Their Struggle to Receive Fair Contract From Daycon

WASHINGTON, June 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, dozens of striking workers and their supporters from labor and the community handed out informational leaflets at the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum that called on their employer, Daycon which is based in Upper Marlboro, Md., to return to the bargaining table and negotiate in good faith.

The Smithsonian Institution is one of the major clients of Daycon, a company that manufactures and distributes cleaning and janitorial supplies to the Mid-Atlantic region. The 55 workers, represented by Teamsters Local 639 in Washington D.C., went on strike on April 26 in protest to Daycon's unfair labor practices.

"The company is being very difficult and it is clear that their plan from the beginning was to force these workers out onto the street," said Thomas Ratliff, President of Local 639. "It's a shame that these employees, who helped build this company, are now being treated so poorly. Our proposals are not unreasonable – we are asking for equal pay for equal work. This company never intended to bargain in good faith. They have made it clear that they believe it is Daycon's way or no way."

Daycon's president John Poole cancelled the workers' insurance the day they went out on strike and has hired replacement workers and a security force that is on duty around-the-clock. Unfair labor practice charges filed against the union by the company have all been dismissed by the National Labor Relations Board.

"Poole has probably spent more on legal fees, replacement workers and security than what we have asked for at the negotiating table," Ratliff said. "He needs to do the right thing and take care of the workers that have made Daycon what it is today."

A self-described, "$50 million company," Daycon has refused to bargain fairly with the workers, demanding the implementation of a two-tier wage structure that would destroy any chance for second-tier employees to have the same financial security a first-tier employee would enjoy. This would not only discourage workers from making a career out of working at Daycon, but create a division within the workforce that would destroy morale.

"The two-tier pay system is a terrible idea," said Eugene Brown a 14-year senior truck driver and shop steward at Daycon. "The pay scale in this system would prevent the younger guys in the unit from ever getting to the same wage levels as the more senior guys. This is unfair to the collective bargaining unit as a whole. We are not going to accept it – the senior guys are committed to standing by the younger workers to make sure this doesn't happen."

Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

SOURCE Teamsters Local Union 639