CHICAGO, April 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Because of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot have recently turned the nation's largest convention center into a field hospital in the hopes of alleviating future concerns over overcrowding at Chicago's hospitals. Teamsters Local 727 and the public have applauded the foresight and hard work of both local and state government to make McCormick Place into a hospital, seemingly overnight. However, during the transformation, almost 40 Local 727 security officers have been unlawfully left behind and furloughed by ASM Global (formerly SMG), while another 50 have lost a full day's pay each week. These Teamsters frontline, essential worker have dedicated their careers to securing the nation's largest convention center and protecting its patrons—visitors from all over the world. Adding insult to injury, according to recent news reports, the City of Chicago contracted out to a company that is hiring 300 people off the street to act as security for the newly established hospital, unlawfully taking work from tenured union members. Some of these employees have been observed performing work covered by 727's collective bargaining agreement with ASM Global. Additionally, these newly hired security officers will not have the skills, abilities or training of the Local 727 security and fire and safety officers—many of whom have decades of experience. The union has contacted Mayor Lightfoot's office to correct this flagrant violation.
According to Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA), the city put out the RFP for the security services, and ASM Global allegedly did not bid on the work. Local 727 currently has both an outstanding information request with ASM Global and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to MPEA as the joint employer to determine who allegedly made the decision to hire Allied Universal and if, in fact, ASM Global did not bid on the work. "If ASM Global truly did not put their hat in the ring to secure the field hospital and help protect the city of Chicago, they should be ashamed of themselves. We have dozens of security officers, employed by ASM Global, ready and willing and more capable than anyone to protect McCormick Place and hospitalized Chicagoans," said John Coli, Jr, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 727.
However, MPEA has acted as a joint employer with ASM Global, even having MPEA employees participate in grievance meetings on behalf of ASM Global. MPEA and the city are well-aware of Local 727 security officers and their role in securing McCormick Place, as MPEA was the employer of many of the same security officers that patrol the convention center today. Until about 10 years ago, MPEA directly had a collective bargaining agreement with Local 727 until they had a third party step in to manage the group.
"MPEA, the city of Chicago, and ASM Global cannot play the blame game to take the attention off these wronged members. The contract is clear that this is our members' work and pointing fingers won't change that. We want the field hospital to be successful and safe, and there is no one better to ensure that then the men and women who have patrolled McCormick Place for years," said Coli, Jr. "To bring in newly hired security officers to save some money is not just unconscionable, it's dangerous. I ask that the city of Chicago step in and fix this immediately. Our Teamsters members should not be sitting at home watching someone off the street do their job—a job that is not only rightfully theirs, but one of the most important jobs in the city right now. Please let our members do what they do best. Let us protect McCormick Place."
Teamsters Local 727 represents nearly 10,000 hardworking men and women throughout the Chicago area.
Nothing in this article should be read as the union's waiver of any legal argument, position or grievance(s), or as a waiver of any rights, arguments, or defenses under any contract, collective bargaining agreement, or applicable law. The union does not forfeit its right to make any and all supplemental arguments.
Caleen Carter-Patton, (847) 696-7500
SOURCE Teamsters Local Union 727, Park Ridge, Illinois