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New Jersey Pilot Flying J workers vote to join union; contract to cover wages, hours, conditions

RWDSU characterized the Pilot's pro-union vote as a David vs. Goliath battle.

The Trucker Staff

2/28/2014

Workers at the Pilot Flying J truck stop in Bloomsbury, N.J., Feb. 25 voted 12-7 to join the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), the first Pilot facility to do so, according to the union.

The vote was held by secret ballot on Feb. 24.

The union issued a statement saying that “The workers are on the front line each and every day, working hard so that Pilot Flying J remains profitable.  And yet, many of the workers are largely left out of the success of the company they helped make successful.”

“I think the workers at Pilot want to try and reverse this trend,” said Kathy K. Campbell, secretary-treasurer at Local 108 of the RWDSU, in an e-mail to The Trucker.  “With a union contract workers can ensure that their jobs get better not worse.”

“If other Pilot employees reach out to the union for representation we will be there for them,” Campbell said.  “We have already received a few calls regarding union interest from other employees of the company.” 

She added that the union’s goal at the Pilot is “to negotiate a good contract that covers wages, hours, and other working conditions.”  

 According to The Tennessean, there were “repeated efforts by Pilot executives to defeat the effort.”

And RWDSU in a news release quoted an employee who said Pilot executives were at the store every day “trying to convince workers that unionization was not in their best interests.”

Pilot officials warned workers that joining the union would reduce their paychecks by at least $171.60 per year, according to the Tennessean.

The vote came after unsuccessful efforts by the United Auto Workers to unionize a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. The effort was opposed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, whose family owns the Pilot Flying J chain.

RWDSU characterized the pro-union vote as a David vs. Goliath battle, noting that “Governor Haslam fought viciously and publicly against the UAW’s effort to organize the workers at Volkswagen. Yet 10 days later, the workers at his family-owned business have voted to unionize.”

Pilot communications manager Anne LeZotte said that “We would simply like to reiterate that we value all of our team members and appreciate their hard work and commitment to serving our customers.”

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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